So what’s next in the federal budgetary process? Both the House and Senate will have an opportunity to question administration officials about their (the President’s) budget requests. Then, both chambers will draft their own budget resolutions. The chambers will then go to a conference committee, resolve their differences and pass a final budget resolution by April 15. The budget resolution and its accompanying report will serve as the official blueprint for Congress as it allocates federal dollars during the fiscal year.
That’s how it’s supposed to work anyway.
In reality, it often takes longer – sometimes Congress does not pass a budget resolution at all. In fact, the Senate went nearly 1,450 days without a budget resolution until finally agreeing to one on March 23, 2013. In recent years, rather than going through the “on the books” appropriations process, Congress has operated under continuing resolutions to fund the federal government.
So again, if the President’s budget will never become law, what’s the point of the whole process? It builds on the President’s messages outlined in the annual State of the Union address and outlines priorities for the upcoming year. For some, it provides reason to get to work and support the administration. For others, it’s merely a heads up reminder about potential challenges that lie ahead.
How about you – what are your thoughts on President Obama’s latest budget proposal?