Term Paper: Federal Budget Process Every Year

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[. . .] After thorough debate on the topic the conference committee places the concurrent resolution on the budget in the House and Senate are required to vote to approve the concurrent resolution without modifications. The concurrent resolution is not considered mandatory and is not given assent by the President and therefore has no strength of the law. (The Federal Budget Process-Resolution, Reconciliation, Authorizations, and Appropriations)

After completion of the action of the Congress on the concurrent resolution of the budget for the federal financial year it is generally not the practice to think of legislation on that does not adhere to the constraints on spending and revenue spelled out in the resolution. The concurrent resolution may include the directives to the House and the Senate Authorizing Committees to explore and suggest modifications in the prevailing regulations so as to attain the expenditure cuts or revenue enhancements which the committees must adhere to so as to reconcile the expenditure gaps earmarked in the budget resolution. The Committees however, are given ample liberty to decide on the specific modifications to attain the desired spending levels. It is customary that the Committees in each chamber propose the specific modifications and suggest to the Budget Committee.

All these proposals are collectively put together to constitute the reconciliation bill and submitted by the Budget Committee for consideration by the Chamber. The respective reconciliation bills are endorsed by the House and Senate to the Budget Reconciliation Conference Committee for taking up different sub-conferences with authorizing committees and to submit an Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. It is mandatory that both the chambers must get through the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act without any further modification. The President may give assent or exercise the veto o the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. After signature only the act becomes law. (The Federal Budget Process-Resolution, Reconciliation, Authorizations, and Appropriations)

The Budgetary proposals developed by the Office of the management and the Budget -OMB has three important roles to play. It depicts the vision of the President about the overall fiscal policy, as based on three integral elements -the amount of funds to be spent by the federal government, the amount of revenue to be raised and the amount of the deficit or surplus to be borne that indicates the disparity between the first and the second. Secondly, the budgetary proposals signify the prioritization accorded by the President in respect of the federal expenditure i.e. his decisions about the amount to be spent on different sectors like defense, agriculture, education, health etc. The budgetary proposals of the President often spell out the federal financial policy not only for the coming year but in a long-term basis encompassing the vision for next five years being supported by different past trends in the budgetary parameters. Thirdly, the budget proposals of the President warn the Congress about the modifications brought out in the expenditure and revenue policies that the President suggests.

The budgetary proposals of the President also includes modifications to the 'mandatory' or 'entitlement' expenditure policies like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and several other programs inclusive of the food stamps, federal civilian and military retirement benefits and insurance against unemployment nor regulated by annual appropriations. It further includes the modifications to the tax code inclusive of the any new tax cut policy that the President desires to implement. Any cut and enhancement in the taxation influences the federal receipts anticipated to be raised in the coming years. Alternatively, the budgetary proposals of the President signify a specified level of allocated programs and may include suggestive modifications in taxation and entitlements laws if considered. On receipt of the budgetary proposals of the President the Congress normally hold deliberations heeding to the queries rose by the Administrative officials on the budget and then goes on formulating the budget resolutions. This is being performed by the House and Senate Budget Committees, who are responsible for drafting the budget resolution. (Coven; Kogan, 2003)

After the Committees have drafted the resolution the same was presented to the House and Senate to be amended by a majority vote. Then it passes on to the House Senate conference for reconciliation of the differences and at last a conference is moved by both the houses. The budget resolution is considered to be a 'concurrent' congressional resolution and not an ordinary bill, and therefore not required to be presented to the President for assent or veto. Moreover, it necessitates a majority vote to be moved and also regarded as one such legislation that cannot be obstructed in the floor of the Senate through prolonged deliberations. It is customary to pass the final budget by April 15; however, sometimes it is delayed a little. The budget of the Congress is considered to be a simple one. It embodies a collection of figures indicating the amount that the Congress is allowed to incur expenditure on the 20 sectors referred to as 'functions' and the total revenue that the government will raise for each of the coming five years. (Coven; Kogan, 2003)

The aggregate expenditure in the budget resolution is represented in two methods. First one is to indicate the aggregate amount of the 'budget authority' to be extended and the second one is to aggregate estimate of the spending levels or outlays. The distinction between the two primarily is the underlying timing. The budget authority indicates to the amount of fund that the federal agency is allowed by the Congress to incur expenditure after the legislations on a specific sector or project. Outlays on the other hand signify the actual funds streaming out of the federal treasury in a particular year. Supplementing the schedules on expenditure and revenue the budget resolution embodies another crucial schedule known as 302(a) allocation. This schedule indicates the aggregate expenditure figures being laid down by the budget function in the budget resolution and instead allocates these aggregates by the congressional committee. The Appropriations Committee receives a single 302(a) allocation in respect of all the programs in different sectors and then decides on its own to allocate the aggregates among 13 different sub-committees. (Coven; Kogan, 2003)

The several committees with authority over obligatory projects are to receive a singly allocation that indicates a total dollar ceiling on all the legislations they entail in the current year. This schedule is visualized to be a little different in the House and Senate as result of variations in the authorities of the committees. Besides, every committee is not entitled to receive allocation that indicates an increase or decrease in the obligatory spending and often the allocation of the committee only indicates the level of the obligatory expenditure under the prevailing law. The budget resolution is also inclusive of the temporary or permanent modifications in the federal budgetary procedures. To illustrate, the budget resolution of the 2004 contains a provision confining to the amount of funds that the 2005 budget resolutions allots to the Appropriation Committees and formulated a point of order for its implementation, to be set aside only with a vote of 60 Senators.

It is evident that the Congress has selected a typical process enshrined in the Congressional Budget Act referred to as the 'reconciliation' from time to time. This process actually planned to make easier the process of reduction in the deficit legislation, since it has been understood by the Congress that the points of order only delimited the enhanced expenditures or tax reductions and therefore a new means is necessitated implement the budget resolution that involves expenditure reductions and enhancement in taxations. The reconciliations have been applied for two times during the Bush regime in 2001 and 2003 to enact the tax reduction legislations. (Coven; Kogan, 2003)

At least at the middle of the 1980s the concern for prolonged budgetary deficits constituted the important topic for budget deliberations. The policy makers had to lay emphasis on the legislations of the new outline of legal confinements aiming at reducing and abolition of such deficits. A fixed limit for the reducing deficits have been fixed since 1986 through the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 referred to as the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act of 1985 and fixed the target to attain zero deficits during the year 1991. A process of confiscation is laid down by the Deficit Control Act to automatically reduce the expenditure in respect of many federal programs when the deficit for a fiscal year seems to exceed the prescribed limit. The confiscations is required to be carried out by an executive order enacted in consonance with the terms and conditions of the confiscation report of the Comptroller General of the United States and the head of the General Accounting Office. (Holtz-Eakin, 2004)

The report is required to be formed on the basis of the descriptions made by the Office of Management and Budget - OMB and the Congressional Budget Office-CBO. A reduction in the budget is observed in the late eighties from 221 billion USD in 1986 to 153 billion… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Federal Budget Process Every Year.  (2004, October 31).  Retrieved May 23, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/federal-budget-process-every-year/6744827

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"Federal Budget Process Every Year."  Essaytown.com.  October 31, 2004.  Accessed May 23, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/federal-budget-process-every-year/6744827.