Saturday, December 09, 2017
KANSAS CITY CONGRESSMAN CLEAVER BREAKS DOWN BUDGET DEBATE!!!
Important insight into the financial process and behind the scenes deets from KC's leading elected official.
Congressman Cleaver: Passing the Federal Budget
While it may not be the flashiest, it is perhaps the most important thing that Members of Congress do while in office. This may seem like a complex and arcane set of numbers and figures, but the federal funding process touches on numerous aspects of our lives. It covers programs such as housing assistance and Medicaid, provides money to our schools, provides medical research dollars, and funds veterans programs. The budget process has gotten more and more complex, and now more than ever we need to return to regular order to fund the government.
The federal budget process begins with a recommendation from the President, usually delivered on the first Monday in February. After taking this recommendation into account, the House and Senate pass a concurrent resolution which sets the amount the federal government can spend for the fiscal year. The fiscal year goes from October 1st to September 30th of the following year. This serves as a guide during the next step where the twelve appropriations subcommittees decide how they will allocate this money. The process operates on tight deadlines but the most important one is October 1st. That is when the government runs out of money from last year’s appropriations.
It has been over 20 years since congress passed all of its funding bills by this deadline. For the past twenty years we have been incapable of funding the government on time. Not a single funding bill has been passed on time since 2009. This year, none of the appropriations bills were completed by the October 1st deadline. We have, instead, passed multiple continuing resolutions, which provide stopgap funding for the government.
In all, 435 Representatives and 100 Senators have at least 535 priorities they want included in 12 pieces of legislation. We used to be able to get this done. We used to be able to work together. We used to be able to compromise. As this world gets more polarized, congress needs to remember how we used to work across the aisle and through the regular order process. We are not here to score political points or ram an agenda through behind closed doors, we are here to run a government for the American people.
Emanuel Cleaver, II
Member of Congress