October 1, 2014

Budget? What Budget? Congress Remains Far Behind Schedule as New Fiscal Year Approaches

  • The federal budget process is a mixture of rules, timelines and norms that work together to influence policy decisions. It shapes how the...

With the fiscal year nearly over, Congress unfortunately has not passed a budget resolution or enacted a single appropriations bill for the coming year. Attention has now turned to a continuing resolution to keep the government running after Sept. 30.

“Congress should have met its obligation to pass a budget resolution and complete the appropriations bills using the regular process,” Concord Coalition Chief Budget Counsel Cliff Isenberg writes in a new blog posting. “However, if a continuing resolution is necessary to prevent a government shutdown, it should be a clean measure that permits agencies to continue operating with budgets no higher than current funding levels.”

Last week two Senate committees – Budget, and Homeland Security and Government Affairs -- held hearings on President Obama's nomination of Jack Lew to head the Office of Management and Budget. Lew held the same job during the Clinton administration. The Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee gave its approval of the nomination this morning.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus introduced a revised package of tax extenders that included $50 billion in tax cuts and spending, as well as offsets such as reductions in some tax breaks. As Isenberg notes, Concord has argued that lawmakers should ask whether each tax cut extension can be justified at a time when federal deficits are already well over a trillion dollars.