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Budget Politics PS 426 April 7, 2009. Budget categories, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Budget Politics PS 426 April 7, 2009. Budget categories, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Budget Politics PS 426 April 7, 2009

2 Budget categories, 2008

3 Obama’s budget Expand domestic spending on education, environment, infrastructure, and health care. $650 billion down payment on health care plan. Cap and trade system to cut carbon emissions. Rescind Bush tax cuts – raise top income tax rate on those making more than $250,000 a year. Huge increases in budget deficits.



6 The GOP alternative GOP alternative: freeze discretionary domestic spending (spends $4.8 trillion less over 10 years), privatize Medicare, rescind the stimulus spending (except unemployment compensation), eliminate the estate tax, cut income and corporate taxes. – Split on tactics between Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan on one hand and Boehner and House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence on the other. – Ryan's alternative was defeated 293-137. A substitute offered by the Republican Study Committee failed, 322-111.

7 Congressional approves budget The House approved its budget resolution 233-196, with no Republican support and 20 Democrats joining the opposition. In the Senate's 55-43 vote, no Republican voted for the budget and two Democrats -- Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Evan Bayh of Indiana -- voted against it. Health care survived (but funding mechanism not clear), tax policy and other key parts also were kept. Senate approved, 67-31, an amendment to prevent the climate change issue from being considered through the reconciliation process. Goes to conference to settle differences (no reconciliation on health care in Senate version, eliminates $250 billion for more financial bailouts, provides a $10 million estate tax exemption ).

8 Important budget legislation The Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Established the current budget process, the budget committees in the House and Senate. Also controlled impoundments and established the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which gave Congress independence from the OMB. System very decentralized before the Budget Act. Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (also known as the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act). Tried to reduce the budget deficits of the early 1980s with deficit targets. The Budget Enforcement Act 1990 -- replaced the deficit targets with caps on discretionary spending and a pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) requirement for revenue and direct spending legislation. BEA extended in 1997 and 2007.

9 Budget lingo Budget resolution sets the budget aggregates and spending levels for each functional category of the budget, including targets for committees. These include: -- total revenues (and the amount by which the total is to be changed by legislative action); -- total new budget authority and outlays; -- the surplus or deficit; and -- the debt limit. Sequestration: a process involving automatic, across- the-board cuts in nonexempt spending programs if the targets were exceeded. This was the main enforcement mechanism for enforcing budget targets from 1985-2002 (it is not currently part of the budget process)

10 Budget lingo, cont. (reconciliation) Reconciliation -- Used by Congress to bring existing revenue and spending law into conformity with the policies in the budget resolution. Reconciliation is optional process, but Congress has used it more years than not: from 1980 through 2007, 19 reconciliation measures were enacted into law and three were vetoed. Reconciliation was used in the 1980s and into the 1990s as a deficit- reduction tool. Beginning in the latter part of the 1990s, some reconciliation measures were used to reduce taxes and increased the deficit. In the 110th Congress, both chambers adopted rules requiring that reconciliation be used solely for deficit reduction. The process has two stages — the adoption of reconciliation instructions in the budget resolution (which tells committees what they have to do) and the enactment of reconciliation legislation that implements changes in revenue or spending laws. Huge issue in the 2009 budget on health care and cap and trade.

11 Budget lingo, cont. (PAYGO) PAYGO: Legislation reducing revenues or increasing spending for a fiscal year had to be offset (in the same or other legislation) by revenue increases or reductions in direct spending for that fiscal year so that the effect on the budget deficit remained at or above zero. In effect from 1991-2002, but provision lapsed from 2003-2006. Reinstated in 2007, but waived for many “emergency” measures. Originally it was enforced through sequestration – now just through points of order that can be raised. The biggest problem is that emergency spending and revenue (as defined by the President and by Congress), is exempted from the PAYGO process. Most of Iraq spending is “emergency” as is all of the recent bailout money.

12 Congressional Budget Process Timetable First Monday in February: President submits budget to Congress – this is only a request to Congress. However, it is an important starting point for negotiations. February 15: Congressional Budget Office submits economic and budget outlook report to Budget Committees. Six weeks after President submits budget: Committees submit views and estimates to Budget Committees. April 1: Senate Budget Committee reports budget resolution. April 15: Congress completes action on budget resolution. May 15: Annual appropriations bills may be considered in the House, even if action on budget resolution has not been completed. June 10: House Appropriations Committee reports last annual appropriations bill. June 15: Congress completes action on reconciliation legislation (if required by budget resolution). June 30: House completes action on annual appropriations bills. July 15: President submits mid-session review of his budget to Congress. October: 1 Fiscal year begins. Source: Section 300 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, as amended (P.L. 93- 344, 2 U.S.C. 631).


14 Other budget issues The secret budget – very little oversight or accountability for these lines of the budget. The line item veto -- The Line Item Veto Act was enacted during the 104th Congress (it was part of the “Contract with America”). The Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional in June, 1998. The act authorized the President to identify individual items in legislation that he proposed not go into effect. The President had to notify Congress of his proposal and provide supporting information. Congress had to respond within a limited period of time by enacting a law if it wanted to disapprove the President’s proposals; otherwise, the veto would take effect permanently. President Clinton used the line-item veto several times in 1997 before it was struck down.

15 Inside the “black budget”


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