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"Joint Budget Resolution" Could Lead to Gridlock on Appropriations and Shift Power to the Executive Branch

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Abstract:

Under current rules as set forth in the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, budget resolutions are “concurrent resolutions” that do not go to the President for his signature or veto and are not laws. Also under current rules, if a budget resolution has not been approved by May 15, appropriations bills may be brought to the House floor so that the appropriations process is not inordinately delayed.

The Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative members of the House of Representatives, has called for converting the concurrent budget resolution into a joint budget resolution that is signed by the President and has the force of law, and barring consideration of appropriations bills until the joint budget resolution is enacted, regardless of how many months it takes for the Senate, the House, and the President to reach agreement on the resolution. The President and Congress would have to work out agreement on a budget law before passing any appropriations bills or, for that matter, taking up any other legislation that has any budgetary impact. This proposal is contained in both H.R. 3800 and H.R. 3925. It is expected to be offered on the House floor when the House considers budget process legislation, possibly during the week of June 21.

This proposal raises several serious concerns.