Federal Budget and Appropriations



Five Cheers for the FY19 Appropriations Process

Matt Glassman | October 1, 2018

The 2019 federal fiscal year begins Monday, October 1st. To the surprise of many, the FY2019 appropriations process in Congress resulted in on-time passage of several of the annual appropriations bills. On September 21, President Trump signed the FY2019 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which contained the annual appropriations for three of the traditional twelve


Budget Dysfunction: Potential Reforms

Laura Blessing | July 11, 2018

The federal budget process, laid out in the 1974 Budget Act, is a complex, multi-stage process with many opportunities for partisanship and intra-party divisions to derail it. And derailed it has been, with workarounds like omnibus appropriations and Continuing Resolutions (CRs) becoming the new normal. The myriad challenges in the present-day process were discussed at length in


Budget Reform: Diagnosing the Problem

Laura Blessing | May 3, 2018

The federal budget process is broken.  There are few things that political actors across the spectrum agree on; the deep dysfunctionality of congressional budgeting is one.  This topic has received considerable attention in recent years, most recently via a joint select committee created to seek reforms.  The  need for such an investigation


Art of the Very Difficult Budget Deal

Josh Huder | January 18, 2018

Three months into the 2018 fiscal year, Congress and the President have yet to finalize a budget deal. Delayed funding of government is not new to this Congress or its predecessors. Similar debates about how much to raise the Budget Control Act (BCA) caps (commonly referred to as sequester) occurred in 2013 and 2015, and


Senior Fellow Mark Harkins on The HILL AM View Podcast

GAI | January 10, 2018

GAI Senior Fellow Mark Harkins was a guest this morning on The Hill AM View Podcast. He and correspondent Alexis Simendinger discussed the value of earmarks as a legislative technique. Interesting discussion in light of recent comments by President Trump expressing enthusiasm for bringing back this congressional practice.


Outlook for the FY2018 Appropriations Process

Matt Glassman | January 9, 2018

The FY2018 appropriations process in Congress—which will provide funding for the federal government from October 1, 2017, until September 30, 2018—is once again approaching a deadline. After its failure to enact full year appropriations bills by October 1, Congress has passed a series of continuing resolutions (the first through December 8; a


R.I.P. Budget Hawks

Mark Harkins | November 20, 2017

November 16, 2017, will be a day long remembered in the annals of Congressional history. Not because of the Franken picture or the fact that Sen. Menendez’s trial ended in a hung jury or even that Roy Moore had another revival press conference. No, this day will be remembered as the day the budget hawks


Republicans’ Inability to Do Routine Things Is Scuttling Their Big Plans

The 2016 election was a near universal shock. President Trump beat (nearly) all prognosticators. House Republicans only lost 6 seats, retaining their 4th largest House majority since 1930. Senate Republicans also beat the odds and held on to a 52 seat majority. Suddenly, the 2016 Election that was supposed to go bad for Republicans turned


The Sequester Died on May 5

Mark Harkins | May 30, 2017

Sequestration put into place by the Budget Control Act in 2011 (BCA) is still on the books.  But Congress, with the acquiescence of the President, has found a way to make that point moot.  By invoking another section of budget law, section 251(b)(2)(A)(i) and (ii) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of


The Omnibus Is Here

Josh Huder | May 8, 2017

House and Senate leaders  pushed through an omnibus spending package last week. The bill combines 11 appropriations bills for the final months of the FY2017 calendar. Democrats walked away with some big wins in the omnibus. They struck over 100 policy riders, resisted non-defense cuts proposed by President Trump, and managed to block funding for


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