2018 Federal Budget: Where Are We?
December 4, 2017
The federal government’s fiscal year begins on October 1st. Normally, Congressional leaders work to put into place a federal budget before that date so that there is no disruption; however, over the past several years this deadline has slipped. If Congress does not pass a budget, which is also referred to federal appropriations bill, before the start of the fiscal year on October 1, it must pass, and the President must sign, a continuing resolution (CR) to provide temporary funding. If not, the government agencies not receiving funding through other mechanisms but shut down. In September, President Trump and Democratic leaders negotiated a CR to fund the government at fiscal year 2017 levels until December 8th.
Congress will need to act this week to determine next steps. They could:
- Extend the current CR to give themselves an extra week or two to finish up negotiations on a budget deal and a subsequent omnibus package to fund the federal government,
- Settle on a longer CR that delays budget decisions until first quarter of 2018, OR
- Allow for a government shutdown if Congress does not act on the budget or if the President doesn’t sign it a CR or a budget deal in time.
What steps need to be taken for a budget to be passed?
The President Requests the Budget
- The first Monday in February the U.S. President submits a details budget request for the upcoming fiscal year (October 1 – September 31). This request is a proposal and not law and will include:
- Funding for programs that must be renewed every year, also known as annually appropriated programs, and they fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committees.
- Taxes, mandatory programs, entitlement programs and interest
- Changes to the tax code
Congress Develops a Budget Resolution
- After holding hearings and questioning administration officials about their requests, Congress developed their own budget plan known as a budget resolution by April 15 of each year. This simple document details how much money Congress is to spend in each of its 19 categories.
Pass and Enact the Budget
- Finally, the terms of the budget resolution are then enforced against individual appropriations, entitlement bills, and tax bills on the House and Senate floors. The President will sign the budget into law.