Presentation on theme: "How Congress Works: Understanding the Budget, Appropriations, and Authorizations Process."— Presentation transcript:
How Congress Works: Understanding the Budget, Appropriations, and Authorizations Process
Basic Definitions Budget Resolution: represents House & Senate agreement concerning the overall size of the federal budget -- Sets revenue floor and spending ceiling. Appropriation: provides annual, discretionary funding for programs (i.e. Adult Ed, NIFL, etc.), allowing programs to be implemented Authorization: defines policy by providing statutory authority to establish or continue operation of a federal agency or program indefinitely or for a specified period of time
Federal Budget What is the amount of the total Federal Budget? How big is the Federal Debt?
Congressional Budget Process Enacted to bring order to decision making Establishes timetable for orderly decisionmaking Establishes rules and procedures for fiscal legislation Intended to give Congress a level playing field with the Executive Branch
Budget Process: Simplified President Submits Budget Request (1 st Monday in Feb.) -- role of OMB/PART Congress Considers Budget Resolution Reconciliation Instructions to Committees/Allocations of Funding Reconciliation Enacted Appropriations Enacted
Tools Of The Trade Congress adopts a Budget Resolution or a blueprint for spending and revenues for the year ahead. (update) Allocations to Appropriations Congress spends the rest of the year (and maybe more!) working on appropriations.
Managing The Balance Deficit = Revenues – Spending!
Budget Timetable First Monday in February President submits Budget Request
By April 15 Congress completes action (conference report) on the Congressional BUDGET RESOLUTION for fiscal years 2006 through 2015, including, if necessary, RECONCILIATION instructions to committees of jurisdiction. (Only in 1976, 1977 and 1994 did Congress meet this deadline.)
After April 15 Congressional committees respond to RECONCILIATION instructions by recommending changes in laws within their jurisdictions which would achieve savings in entitlement/direct spending programs (federal retirement) or increase receipts through tax law changes.
$ May 15 Appropriations bills may be considered in the House of Representatives even in the absence of agreement on a conference report on the BUDGET RESOLUTION for the upcoming fiscal year. $ By June 10 House Appropriations Committee finished reporting all 12 regular appropriations bills for fiscal year 2008.
By June 15 C ongress completes action on RECONCILIATION legislation, making changes in entitlement laws, direct spending programs, and tax laws in order to bring congressional action into line with the BUDGET RESOLUTION blueprint. (Congress has never completed RECONCILIATION legislation by this date; earliest was July 31, 1981.)
By June 30 House completes action on all 12 regular appropriations bills for fiscal year 2008. July/August Senate completes action on appropriations bills. Conferences commence between the House and Senate to resolve differences in appropriations legislation.
$ September 30 House and Senate complete action on conference report on appropriations bills for fiscal year 2008 – send to the President. October 1 Fiscal Year 2008 begins
Appropriations Process Budget Resolution sets overall discretionary funding level Appropriations Committees divide among funding bills/subcommittees Each bill sets funding for individual programs in agencies covered Continuing resolution when bills not passed by end of fiscal year
Role of Federal Agencies Implement programs authorized by Congress Determine operating parameters (regulations, program instructions, often with public input) Approve state plans Make grants directly Fund research and demonstrations
What Does This Mean for Us? We need to discover all the federal funding sources we can use. We have to help build systems that work for adults and families. Know that the funding doesnt always fit together. Be engaged in the process!
Windows of Opportunity for Policy Advocacy Changes can occur: Before bills introduction Before Committee considers Before and during floor debate Before and during conference BUT changes become harder as the process moves further along
Challenge for Advocates Learn the various silos of funding Know where their policies can be influenced Think creatively about how they could work together Bring your ideas to federal and state policymakers
New Congressional Majority House of Representatives Education and Labor: Chairman George Miller (CA) Appropriations: Chairman David Obey (WI) Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions: Chairman Ted Kennedy (MA) Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd (WV)