The Budget and Appropriations Process In 2014

This is one of a series of posts from the Congressional Update

This talk took a look at the fiscal situation in the US as it concerns Congress, budgeting, and legislation. For context, take a look at this slide from the Concord Coalition, which looks at expenditures in terms of discretionary spending, mandatory spending, and interest on the debt over time:


As we can see, mandatory spending is a growing part of our national expenditure. Mandatory spending is spending that is automatic and generally bypasses the appropriations process. Under this umbrella are programs like Social Security and Medicare in which benefits are given to all who are eligible. Finding ways to make these spending levels more sustainable will continue to be the subject of debate by opposing political philosophies in Congress.

The national debt as of today is $17.3 trillion. The debt has averaged 45% of GPD over the last 40 years. Today, however, the debt is 73% of GDP and projected to rise to over 100% in the next 25 years. Even though the idea of raising taxes is politically unpopular on both sides of the aisle, finding ways for the federal government to harness the benefits of a recovering economy will be a pressing issue for Congress.

Finally, the big news yesterday was that the House passed a $1.012 trillion “omnibus” spending bill which includes all of the individual annual spending bills. It will fund all the federal agencies through the end of the current fiscal year. It also mitigates the chances of another government shutdown and lessens the need for sequester level spending.

A version of this talk is also given in Advanced Budget and Appropriations Process.
Next up at the Congressional Update: Tim Alberta, “The Challenges of House Leadership

Sam Lovett is Communications Manager at the Government Affairs Institute