Senate Democrats

S. Con. Res. 13, the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Resolution

Summary and Background

The Fiscal Year 2010 Senate Budget Resolution (S.Con.Res.13) outlines the proposed federal budget for next year, as well as proposed budget levels for Fiscal Year 2009 and Fiscal Years 2011 through 2014. Upon adoption of the budget, the Budget Resolution will serve as a blueprint that guides subsequent congressional consideration of budget-related legislation.

The Budget Resolution addresses the fiscal and economic crises inherited by the Obama Administration and lays the foundation for the long-term economic security of the United States. The Budget Resolution:

·         Preserves the major priorities in President Obama’s budget proposal: 1) reducing our dependence on oil; 2) striving for excellence in education; and 3) reforming our health care system;

·         Provides significant middle-class tax relief, directed at families with incomes under $250,000; and

·         Cuts the deficit in half by 2012 and by two-thirds by 2014.

The Budget Resolution was reported out of the Senate Committee on the Budget on March 26, 2009. The Senate is expected to take floor action on S.Con.Res.13 the week of March 30, 2009.

Major Provisions

Discretionary Spending

The Budget Resolution provides $1,080.9 billion in budget authority and $1,269.8 billion in outlays for discretionary programs in Fiscal Year 2010. These totals exclude emergency and supplemental war funding. This is 2.8 percent over the level needed to keep pace with inflation and $15 billion less than the President’s request. Over the five-year period, total discretionary spending (including emergency and supplemental) will fall from 9.5 percent of GDP in 2010 to 7.3 percent in 2014.

Domestic Discretionary Spending

The Budget Resolution provides $475 billion for overall domestic discretionary funding in Fiscal Year 2010 (excluding emergencies and war costs). While final decisions about the allocation of this spending will be made by the Appropriations Committee, the budget was designed by the Budget Committee following many of the priorities in the President’s budget. Highlights include investments in:

Science. The Budget Resolution funds the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at $18.7 billion, in recognition of the importance of our nation’s space program and the vital role the space program plays in driving scientific and technological advancements critical to our economy. The Budget Resolution recognizes the possibility that currently planned Shuttle missions may continue beyond the end of Fiscal Year 2010, and provides $2.5 billion above the President’s request for Fiscal Year 2011. The Budget Resolution recognizes the strategic importance of uninterrupted access to space and supports efforts to reduce or eliminate the existing five-year gap in U.S. human space flight capacity until the Crew Exploration Vehicle is operational.

Energy. The Budget Resolution builds on the investments in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (P.L. 111-5) by fully funding the President’s request for Fiscal Year 2010 energy discretionary funding. The energy funding level in the Budget Resolution will accommodate increases for:

·         Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program. These increases will accommodate investments in important priorities such as wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and biorefinery R&D, hydrogen, vehicle/ building technologies and the weatherization assistance program;

·         Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program;

·         Development of low carbon coal technologies such as carbon capture and sequestration;

·         Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program; and

·         Electricity delivery and energy reliability. This increase could be used to modernize the electric grid, enhance security and reliability of energy infrastructure, and facilitate recovery from disruptions to the energy supply.

The Budget Resolution includes a deficit-neutral reserve fund for legislation that would invest in clean energy or preserve the environment. The reserve fund could be used for legislation to reduce our nation’s dependence on imported energy, produce green jobs, promote renewable energy development, create a clean energy investment fund, improve electricity transmission, encourage conservation and efficiency, implement water settlements, or preserve or protect public lands, oceans, or coastal areas. The legislation could include tax proposals. The reserve fund could also be used for legislation that would invest in clean energy technology initiatives, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, or help families, workers, communities and businesses make the transition to a clean energy economy.

The Budget Resolution also provides funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) consistent with the President’s request. These funds for LIHEAP will help to continue providing heating and cooling assistance to over five million low-income households, including the working poor, disabled persons, elderly, and families with young children.

National Resources and Environment. The Budget Resolution provides for:

·         Conservation. The Budget Resolution assumes increases for the Department of the Interior and the Forest Service and includes the President’s proposal to increase funding for land acquisition programs. It also fully funds wildfire suppression activities at the Forest Service and the Department of the Interior and assumes that an additional $357 million will be provided if appropriated funds are exhausted and the severity of the fire season requires additional funding.

·         Environmental Protection, Water, and Aquatic Restoration.The Budget Resolution includes funding for EPA’s Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds; increases for Superfund, the Brownfields program and a variety of other EPA programs; increases for water infrastructure priorities at the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation.

The Budget Resolution also includes funding for a new inter-agency initiative to address such regional ecosystems. It assumes the President’s request of $475 million to work with Great Lakes states, tribes, and local communities and organizations to address issues prioritized in the Great Lakes Regional Collaborative.

·         Native American Programs.The Native American population is facing a public safety and health care crisis. The United States has a trust responsibility for the provision of public safety and care to Indian people. Accordingly, the Budget Resolution supports funding for public safety, health care and water priorities benefitting American Indians and Alaska natives. Additionally, the Budget Resolution supports funding for Indian education, including at tribal colleges.

Agriculture.The Budget Resolution supports:

·         Strengthening Child Nutrition and WIC. The Budget Resolution includes a reserve fund for deficit-neutral legislation that would reauthorize child nutrition programs and/or the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (the WIC program).

·         Investments in Our Nation’s Counties and Schools. The Budget Resolution includes a reserve fund for deficit-neutral legislation that would reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act of 2000, make changes to the Payments in Lieu of Taxes Act of 1976, or both.

Commerce and Housing.The Budget Resolution provides for:

·         Community Development.Providing investments in our communities is especially important now as communities struggle to help their citizens cope with the negative side effects of the economic downturn. The Budget Resolution includes increased funding for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), the largest source of federal grant assistance in support of state and local government housing and community development efforts.

·         Housing.The Budget Resolution includes a deficit-neutral reserve fund that would allow for investments in housing assistance to follow up on the Administration’s plan to provide coordinated assistance to homeowners through its "Making Home Affordable" initiative. The Budget Resolution continues to support funding for the Public Housing Capital Fund, Hope VI Distressed Housing Program, Housing for the Disabled, Housing for the Elderly, and the Section 8 tenant-based Housing Choice Voucher program and the project-based Section 8 program.

Transportation.The Budget Resolution provides for:

·         Infrastructure. The Budget Resolution recognizes that continued funding of significant long-term infrastructure projects is needed to continue the progress that began with enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Budget Resolution includes a reserve fund for deficit-neutral legislation that would provide a sustained robust federal investment in infrastructure, which may include public housing, energy, water, or other infrastructure projects; would provide new budget authority for surface transportation programs to the extent such new budget authority is offset by an increase in receipts to the Highway Trust Fund; and would authorize multimodal transportation projects.

·         High-Speed Rail. The Budget Resolution continues the unprecedented commitment to high speed rail made in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by providing $1 billion for high speed rail in Fiscal Year 2010.

Education.The Budget Resolution:

·         Calls for a significant investment to build our human capital through programs targeting low-income students, such as early childhood education and Title I, and for innovative and effective strategies to reduce achievement gaps and improve student learning in grade schools, middle schools, and high schools.

·         Proposes to reduce barriers to higher education by accommodating the President’s student aid proposals, such as expanding Pell grants or providing education tax incentives.

Health.The Budget Resolution provides for:

·         Community Health Centers. The Budget Resolution provides $2.9 billion for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in Fiscal Year 2010. These health centers are community-based providers of comprehensive primary and preventive health care that serve more than 16 million people, many of whom are uninsured or on Medicaid.

·         Health Professions & National Health Service Corp. The Budget Resolution provides funding for the Health Professions program and the National Health Service Corps to increase the number of health professionals practicing in medically underserved areas.

·         National Institutes of Health. The Budget Resolution continues to support funding for NIH in Fiscal Year 2010, including support for cancer research.

·         Food and Drug Administration. The Budget Resolution includes a reserve fund for deficit-neutral legislation that would strengthen the Food and Drug Administration’s ability to ensure the products it regulates are safe for the public.

Social Security.The Budget Resolution assumes the President’s full funding request of $11.6 billion for administrative expenses at the Social Security Administration (SSA). This funding will help to reduce unacceptable delays for disabled individuals in receiving benefits and to ensure that program dollars are spent wisely at a time when SSA is facing a significant increase in new claims for disability and retirement benefits during the recent economic downturn.

Veterans. The Bush Administration consistently underestimated the needs of veterans, and Congress made up the shortfall. The Budget Resolution:

·         Supports President Obama’s request for a 10 percent increase for the VA and provides additional resources to the VA so that veterans’ insurance need not be billed for service-connected VA care.

·         Ensures that the Veterans Health Administration can provide the highest quality health care for all veterans.

·         Supports adequate funding that can address the costs of constructing new cemeteries as well as the needs of existing State Veteran Cemeteries.

Administration of Justice. The Budget Resolution provides funding for:

·         Combating Financial Fraud.The failure or near failure of so many financial institutions has caused enormous damage to the national and global economy, wiped out savings for millions of investors, and required an unprecedented level of support by the taxpayer through government rescue plans. The Budget Resolution includes sufficient resources for regulators and law enforcement officials to uncover and address wrongdoing administratively, through civil law, and, where warranted, through criminal prosecution.

·         Law Enforcement Assistance. The Budget Resolution recognizes the important role the partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement entities plays in maintaining safe communities. For example, the Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS) grant program provides funding that is critical in many urban and rural areas in maintaining police presence, carrying out criminal investigations, and in training and equipping law enforcement officers. This, and other support for local law enforcement, remains a priority.

Economic Investments. The Budget Resolution provides for:

·         Small Business. The Budget Resolution recognizes the critical role small businesses play in job creation and seeks to build upon the important small business investments contained in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. That package raised the maximum guarantee on loans in the Small Business Administration’s largest program to 90 percent, eliminated costly fees for borrowers and lenders, and included a series of tax cuts for small businesses and tax incentives to encourage investment in small businesses. In addition, as part of the President’s Financial Stability Plan, the Treasury Department will begin purchasing up to $15 billion of Small Business Administration (SBA) loans. To continue the work began under these two programs and to continue our commitment to a strong small business sector, the Budget Resolution provides $880 million for SBA.

·         Manufacturing. The Budget Resolution acknowledges the need to help American manufacturers and businesses remain competitive in the global marketplace by adopting advanced manufacturing technologies. Accordingly, the Budget Resolution adopts the Administration’s budget level for the Manufacturing Extension Program (MEP), which is dedicated to ensuring American small- and medium-sized manufacturers create jobs in the United States. The Budget Resolution supports increased funding for Economic Development Administration grants to local governments to revitalize closed manufacturing plants. In addition, the Budget Resolution includes a deficit-neutral reserve fund to support legislation that would further aid local communities in redeveloping closed manufacturing plants and the retraining of manufacturing workers for advanced technology jobs.

Defense Discretionary Spending and War Costs

The Budget Resolution fully funds the President’s core defense budget request over the five-year budget window. Total national defense discretionary funding in the Budget Resolution is $556.1 billion. This includes $533.7 billion in Fiscal Year 2010 for the Department of Defense, $20.3 billion more than the 2009 enacted level (exclusive of war funding and defense spending in the economic recovery package). Defense budgets have now grown in inflation adjusted terms every year since 1998 (excluding supplementals).

The Budget Resolution provides for:

·         Investments in America’s Veterans and Wounded Service Members. The Budget Resolution includes a deficit-neutral reserve fund for legislation that provides for concurrent receipt of both disability compensation and retired pay by disabled military retirees (either by increasing the number of retirees eligible or by accelerating the phase-in of concurrent receipt); eliminates the offset between Survivor Benefit Plan annuities and Veterans’ Dependency and Indemnity Compensation; or expands veteran’s benefits.

·         Additional Fiscal Year 2009 war funding. The Budget Resolution provides $75.5 billion for the Defense Department. If enacted, this will bring total war funding for 2009 to $152.6 billion. Under President Bush, the total cost of the wars reached $864 billion. The Budget Resolution also provides for $7.1 billion for the anticipated 2009 supplemental request for international affairs activities.

·         Fiscal Year 2010 War Funding. The Budget Resolution provides $130 billion requested by the Obama Administration for Fiscal Year 2010 war costs. The Bush Administration failed to honor its commitment to include war costs in its budget request and obscured the fiscal situation by seeking war funding as an emergency even after five years of war in Iraq. The Obama Administration, on the other hand, has provided a good faith estimate of war costs for Fiscal Year 2010 and an annual allowance of $50 billion for potential future costs of overseas contingency operations from 2011 onward.

·         National Guard equipment. The National Guard has a long history of outstanding service to our nation, and our nation’s reliance on the Guard has only increased since September 11, 2001. The Budget Resolution encourages the Appropriations Committee to identify additional resources within the defense budget to address needs for National Guard equipment.

·         Defense Environmental Cleanup.The Defense Environmental Cleanup program is charged with efficiently cleaning up the environmental damage resulting from 50 years of nuclear weapons production. The Budget Resolution provides for increased funding at several major sites under this program including Hanford, Idaho Falls, Oak Ridge, and Savannah River. This increase brings total environmental management funding for nuclear site cleanup (including amounts in other budget functions) to $6.5 billion.

·         Reforming Defense Acquisition and Contracting.The Budget Resolution includes a reserve fund for deficit-neutral legislation that would reform Department of Defense processes for acquiring weapons systems or reduce the use of no-bid and cost-plus contracts. The reserve fund could be used for legislation that enhances the capability of the acquisition or contracting workforce in any federal department to achieve better value for taxpayers. In addition, the resolution includes a program integrity cap adjustment provision that would provide the Appropriations Committee with additional resources if they were devoted to activities focused on saving taxpayer resources by increased contract audits or acquisition reform.

Mandatory Spending

Health Reform Legislation. The Budget Resolution includes a deficit-neutral reserve fund to facilitate legislation that transforms and modernizes our health care system and achieves the common goals of constraining costs, expanding access, and improving quality. Reflecting the eight principles for health reform outlined in the President’s budget, the reserve fund provides maximum flexibility to the authorizing Committees to determine the appropriate level of spending and the offsets required to pay for these investments. Recognizing that health reform may require upfront investments, it provides flexibility to allow such legislation to be fully offset only over the period 2009 to 2019 and provides that such legislation be fiscally sustainable over the long-term.

Reforming our overall health care system is the key to addressing our spending challenges in our health entitlement programs – Medicare and Medicaid. The President’s budget offered constructive proposals that would achieve savings by driving delivery system and provider payment reforms in Medicare and Medicaid. The reserve fund in the Budget Resolution allows for the consideration of these and other proposals that will bend the cost curve in health care, put our federal health programs on a fiscally sustainable path, and make health care affordable for families, businesses and federal, state and local governments.

Medicare Physician Reimbursement Legislation. The Budget Resolution includes a reserve fund to increase the reimbursement rate for physician services under Medicare Part B or to encourage physicians to train in primary care residencies and ensure an adequate supply of residents and physicians, provided that such legislation is deficit-neutral over six years and 11 years.

Climate Change Legislation.The Budget Resolution includes a reserve fund to accommodate legislation that would invest in clean energy technology initiatives, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, or help families, workers, communities, and businesses make the transition to a clean energy economy. The Budget Resolution includes no specific assumptions regarding the policy details of such a proposal. The details of the proposal will be left to the committees of jurisdiction and the legislative process.

Education and Training. The Budget Resolution includes a reserve fund for deficit-neutral legislation that would make higher education more accessible and more affordable, which may include legislation to expand and strengthen student aid, such as Pell grants; or increase college enrollment and completion rates for low income students; or provide tax incentives.

Agriculture Programs. The Budget Resolution reflects an amendment adopted during Committee consideration that calls for $70 million in savings per year in crop insurance over the next five years.  The amendment dedicated $175 million for child nutrition and $175 million for deficit reduction.  Besides these changes, the Budget Resolution leaves all other nutrition, conservation, renewable energy, and farm safety net improvements included in the 2008 Farm Bill unchanged. 

Given our current fiscal situation, the Budget Resolution recognizes that all areas of the federal budget need to be examined for savings.  Even though the 2008 Farm Bill received over 80 votes in the Senate and was fully paid for, the Budget Resolution would support targeted savings in agriculture, including the President’s proposal for market access, and some savings in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the federal crop insurance program.

Revenues

The Budget Resolution provides $825 billion of tax relief over the next five years targeted largely on the middle class. The Budget Resolution also seeks to restore fairness to the tax code and close loopholes to shore up the revenue base.

Tax Relief for the Middle Class.Consistent with the President’s budget, the Budget Resolution includes the following tax relief provisions that target the middle class:

·         10 percent bracket, Child Tax Credit, marriage penalty relief.The Budget Resolution would make permanent these three provisions, which were the core middle-class provisions enacted in 2001. The Budget Resolution also assumes that the related expansions of the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit included in the economic recovery package are extended.

·         Education tax incentives. The Budget Resolution would make the American Opportunity Tax Credit permanent. Enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Budget Resolution provides a $2,500 credit for higher education, with a portion of the benefit available through a refundable credit. It also assumes permanent extension of a variety of education-related tax incentives enacted in 2001, including those dealing with education savings accounts and the deduction of student loan interest.

·         Savings incentives. The Budget Resolution would expand the existing "savers credit," making it more accessible to lower-income working families. The Budget Resolution also reflects a new policy to require employers that do not offer 401(k)s to offer automatic enrollment in IRAs.

·         Other Tax Cuts for the Middle Class. The Budget Resolution follows President Obama’s proposals to extend other 2001 and 2003 tax changes for couples with incomes under $250,000 and singles with incomes under $200,000, including the 25 percent and 28 percent brackets and the preferential rates for capital gains and dividend income.

AMT Relief. The Budget Resolution assumes Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) relief through 2012, without offsets. This would protect millions of middle-class families from being hit by the AMT for the next three years, a tax originally intended to apply only to the very wealthy.

Tax Relief for Small Businesses.The Budget Resolution calls for small business tax relief. It assumes the permanent extension of the section 179 expensing provision for small businesses. In addition, it includes a new proposal to eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses, going beyond the current 75 percent exclusion. Finally, the Budget Resolution calls for expanding the net operating loss carryback rules.

Estate Tax Reform.The Budget Resolution assumes permanent reform of the estate tax to create more certainty in estate planning for families and small businesses. The Budget Resolution reflects continuation of the 2009 estate tax parameters, with an exemption of $3.5 million ($7 million for a couple) indexed to inflation and a top rate of 45 percent.

Extenders. The Budget Resolution would extend through 2011 those tax provisions that are slated to expire in 2009 or 2010, but that have been routinely extended in the past. These provisions (referred to as "extenders") include, among others, the research and experimentation tax credit, the deduction for state and local sales taxes, the deduction for teacher classroom expenses, and the exception for active financing income.

Tax Relief and Tax Reform Reserve Funds.The Budget Resolution includes two deficit-neutral reserve funds for tax relief and tax reform (within the reserve fund to promote economic stabilization and growth). The first would accommodate any tax relief, including the extension of expiring provisions and refundable tax credits – some of which were first provided in the economic recovery package – as long as the cost of this tax relief is offset. The second reserve fund would provide for comprehensive tax reform that would ensure a sustainable revenue base in a tax system that promotes simplicity, fairness, and competitiveness.

Loophole Closers and Other Revenue Raisers.The Budget Resolution assumes enactment of loophole closers and other revenue-raising provisions consistent with levels in the President’s budget. The IRS estimated that the tax gap totaled $345 billion in 2001. In the years since, the total has surely grown larger. This figure does not include the revenue that is lost each year as a result of the billions of dollars hidden in offshore tax havens and shelters. The previous administration blocked efforts to address the tax gap. Failure to address this problem only means that honest taxpayers face a higher burden.

Long-Term Fiscal Challenges

As health care costs increase and the baby boomers retire, our nation faces a significant long-term imbalance between revenues and spending. While the Budget Resolution achieves the important near-term goal of cutting the deficit in half by 2012 and by two-thirds by 2014, this represents only a first step in the difficult path of restoring our long-term fiscal security.

President Obama has stated his commitment to working with Congress in a bipartisan manner to address our long-term fiscal imbalances. By hosting a Fiscal Responsibility Summit on February 23, 2009, the President demonstrated the leadership that will be needed to tackle the long-term fiscal imbalance confronting our nation.

Meanwhile, the Budget Resolution takes important steps to begin to address our long-term fiscal challenges by providing for:

·         Transformation and Modernization of America’s Health Care System.The Budget Resolution includes a deficit-neutral reserve fund for legislation that transforms and modernizes our health care system. The reserve fund provides flexibility to the authorizing committees to determine the level of spending and the mix of offsets that may be required to pay for these investments.

·         Program Integrity Initiatives. In an effort to achieve savings over the long term, reduce fraud, and encourage government efficiency, the Budget Resolution includes funding for important program integrity initiatives in programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, and Social Security. The Budget Resolution also supports enhanced Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax enforcement to address the tax gap.

Budget Enforcement

While budget process alone cannot replace a bipartisan commitment to fiscal discipline, there are a number of budget enforcement provisions that can help to put us back on a sound fiscal path. The Budget Resolution would reinstate or update the most important of these enforcement provisions, including:

·         Discretionary Spending Caps. The Budget Resolution would strengthen fiscal responsibility by establishing discretionary spending limits for 2009 and 2010, and enforce them with a point of order in the Senate that could only be waived with 60 votes. For 2009, it provides a cap of $1,391.471 billion in budget authority and $1,220.843 billion in outlays. For Fiscal Year 2010, it sets a cap of $1,079.050 billion in budget authority and $1,268.104 billion in outlays. In addition, the resolution contains several program integrity cap adjustments in 2010 aimed at uncovering and preventing waste, fraud, and abuse. These adjustments include: Continuing Disability Reviews, SSI Redeterminations, Internal Revenue Service Tax Enforcement, Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control, Unemployment Insurance Improper Payment Reviews, and Reducing Waste in Defense Contracting. Including these cap adjustments, discretionary spending in 2010 (excluding overseas contingency operations) totals $1,080.886 billion in budget authority and $1,269.783 billion in outlays.

·         Continuation of 60-Vote Points of Order against Long-Term Deficit Increases, reconciliation increasing the deficit, short-term deficit increases, advance appropriations, and against provisions of appropriations legislation that constitute changes in mandatory programs.

·         Paygo Discipline. The strong paygo, or pay-as-you-go, rule that was reestablished in the Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Resolution (S.Con.Res.21) remains in effect. Paygo requires that new mandatory spending and tax cuts be offset or get 60 votes. Paygo does not prohibit new mandatory spending or new tax cuts; the rule simply says that they should be paid for so that the deficit does not increase, or have 60 votes to waive the point of order.

·         Emergency Legislation. The Budget Resolution makes technical changes in the emergency legislation designation to provide consistent treatment for emergency legislation with respect to enforcement of various points of order and revisions pursuant to deficit-neutral reserve funds.

·         Others.As in prior years, the Budget Resolution includes instructions to authorizing committees to review programs in their jurisdiction for waste, fraud, and abuse when preparing their views and estimates reports pursuant to section 301(d) of the Congressional Budget Act, and contains provisions for adjusting levels for legislation anticipated in reserve funds, and for accommodating legislation that changes concepts or definitions.

Legislative History

S.Con.Res.13 was approved by the Senate Committee on the Budget by a party-line vote of 13-10 on Thursday, March 26, 2009, and reported as an original measure by Chairman Conrad in the Senate on March 27, 2009.

The Budget Act of 1974 provides special expedited provisions for Senate consideration of a Budget Resolution.  Debate on a Budget Resolution is limited to 50 hours, equally divided between the majority and minority leaders or their designees (customarily the Budget Committee Chair and Ranking Member are designated as managers of the resolution).  

Amendments and motions can be offered and voted upon after the 50 hours has expired. However, no debate is permitted at that point. In recent years, the Senate has agreed by unanimous consent to provide time for very brief discussion of amendments or motions immediately prior to votes taking place after time has expired.

Amendments are subject to strict germaneness requirements.

Amendments

The DPC will distribute information on amendments as it becomes available to staff listservs.

Administration Position

As a concurrent resolution – a special legislative vehicle that applies only to the operations of the House and Senate – the Budget Resolution is not presented to the President for signature and does not have the force of law. Although the Budget Resolution does not require the President’s signature, the resolution does provide a blueprint for later congressional action and helps shape legislation that will be sent to the President.

Resources

Congressional Research Service, Budget Reconciliation Legislation: Development and Consideration (98-814), available here.

Congressional Research Service, The Budget Resolution and Spending Legislation, available here.

Congressional Research Service, The Federal Budget: Current and Upcoming Issues (R40088), available here.

Congressional Research Service The Federal Government Debt: Its Size and Economic Significance (RL31590), available here.

Congressional Research Service, Trends in Discretionary Spending (RL34424), available here.

Democratic Policy Committee, Democratic Budget Resolution Makes Urgently Needed Investments in Clean Energy, available here.

Democratic Policy Committee, The Democratic Budget: Critical and Responsible Investments in Our Future and the Middle Class, available here.

Senate Floor Charts on the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget, available here (available only inside the Senate firewall)

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