Scott SoCal wrote:Well, call the Ryan plan what you will. What has the dems put forward? Where does the debate begin? Over 1000 days since this government has produced a budget, a violation of the law btw, and what? Nothing but more govt.
Starve the govt? Not even close.
The US budget and appropriations cycle is a little more complicated than you make it sound. Just quickly from the top of my head:
Congress needs to pass a (nonbinding) concurrent
resolution, as per the 1974 Budget Act. It's not signed by the President and will guide appropriations legislation (i.e. points of order, to challenge provisions that affect spending that exceeds limits set by the bicameral 'concurrent' resolution) In the absence of such a budget resolution, appropriations (actual spending bills, actual laws signed by the president, involving discretionary spending) continue be passed, (I believe reconciliation is not an option anymore) with any spending limits the parties see fit. The budget resolution doesn't affect Congress' ability to increase or decrease spending.
Authorizing committees affect the mandatory spending component, and they would have to alter formulas for earned benefits to reduce spending.
As per CRS:
It [budget resolution] represents a budget plan for the upcoming fiscal year and at least the following four fiscal years. As a concurrent resolution, it is not presented to the President for his signature and thus does not become law. Instead, when adopted by Congress, the budget resolution serves as an agreement between the House and Senate on a congressional budget plan. As such, it provides the framework for subsequent legislative action on the annual appropriations bills, revenue measures, debt-limit legislation, reconciliation legislation, and any other budgetary legislation. While the programmatic assumptions (i.e., the specific mix of revenue and spending policies that are assumed within the budget levels) are not binding, the totals and committee spending allocations may be enforced through points of order and through the budget reconciliation process
The US government worked before the budget act of 74 was passed. It aims to give a much clearer overview of total spending by US government and (make it easier to) set spending limits, through enforceable points of order when the spending bills make their way through the legislative bodies (it also created the Congressional Budget Office and the Senate and House budget committees and allowed for reconciliation). However, without it, the budget act and its concurrent resolutions, Congress can still limit spending, set its own spending limits and determine how to proceed financially.
As per CRS
The budget resolution was designed to provide a framework to make budget decisions, leaving specific program determinations to the Appropriations Committees and other committees with spending and revenue jurisdiction
Congress did not complete action on a budget resolution for six fiscal
years (FY1999 in 1998, FY2003 in 2002, FY2005 in 2004, FY2007 in 2006, FY2011 in 2010, and FY2012 in 2011)
Currently, the budget resolution must include at least five fiscal years.
So the budget act of '74 only became relevant in the last 2 years? Are they breaking the law? It seems like it, because it is in the USC (Code, not Constitution).
Did it matter before/Does it matter now? I doubt it, because 4 times prior they failed to pass a non-binding concurrent budget resolution. The budget act 74 just doesn't really seem to specify what would/should happen when the concurrent resolution isn't passed. (probably unfathomable back in the day that not everything was filibustered) But since that resolution is just that, non-binding, it is difficult to envision what's lost when it's not passed.
The penalties? Nothing, besides that Congress doesn't have a framework agreement between the house and the senate with respect to the US budget. Points of order don't apply, so it's more difficult to keep appropriations committee in check. Appropriations/Authorization bills are still being passed, but given the absence of a 'joint' budget, or budget framework, the House and Senate will struggle to pass each others bills.
As per CRS
During the past 37 years, when Congress has completed action on a budget resolution, Congress adopted the budget resolution by
the target date only six times, most recently in 2003 with the FY2004 budget resolution. Budget resolutions have been adopted, on average, almost 37 days after the target date
In 2011, they passed the Budget Control Act, which states that
[the budget control act] “shall apply in the Senate in the same manner as for a concurrent resolution on the budget” for fiscal years 2012 and 2013.
which means there are spending limits (as per that act) just as if there had been a budget from the senate budget committee, as per the budget act of 74 (amended in 85)
A budget is also always presented (views and estimates; ie wish list, guidance, non-binding) by the President, which is then dissected by the appropriate committees from March-April. They are currently marking up appropriations legislation in subcommittees in the House (they just received their 302b allocations) and in the Senate they are holding hearings to assess the budget as presented by the President.