Fiscal Year 2013: A Budget in the Works

March 20, 2012

Fiscal Year 2013: A Budget in the Works

Each year, Congress is required to pass a budget by law. Once the budget is enacted, Congress must pass 12 yearly spending bills to fund discretionary programs before the start of the government’s fiscal year (October 1). This sounds great in theory, but unfortunately, Washington has neglected to make it work in practice.

Where are we in the budget process, and what proposals are on the table? After cutting out the hype, rhetoric, and commentary, what is left? Here are the facts.

Budget Wars

  • President’s Budget, By the Numbers
  • House Republicans’ Budget, By the Numbers
  • Economic Snapshot
  • Budget
  • Spending

President’s Budget, By the Numbers 1

On February 13, President Obama submitted his proposed budget for the federal government’s upcoming fiscal year (FY2013). Here are the facts:

Spending
2013: $3.803 trillion
5 Years: $20.607 trillion in the next five years

Revenue
2013: $2.902 trillion
5 Years: $17.167 trillion

Deficit
2013: $901 billion
5 Year: $3.440 trillion

House Republicans’ Budget, By the Numbers2

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan released his proposed budget for FY2013 on March 20, 2012. Here are the facts:

Spending
2013: $3.530 trillion
5 Year: $18.056 trillion in the next five years

Revenue
2013: $2.734 trillion
5 Years: $16.037 trillion

Deficit
2013: $797 billion
5 Year: $2.020 trillion

The last time Congress completed the budget process was on April 29, 20093. (Explained in depth below.)

Fiscal Year 1995 is the last time all bills were completed individually and signed into law on or before October 14. (Explained in depth below.)

Economic Snapshot, By the Numbers

  • National Debt Total: $15.567 trillion5
    • Debt per household6: $136,267
    • Debt per person7: $49,699.13
  • Consecutive Months of Deficits8: 41
  • Unemployment Rate9: 8.3%

Budget

The last time Congress completed the budget process was on April 29, 200910.

  • The House passed the conference report for the budget on April 29, 2009, by a vote of 233 – 19311.
  • The Senate passed the conference report for the budget on April 29, 2009, by a vote of 53 – 4312.

Even if Congress can pass a budget, it almost never passes the budget by the April 15 target date. According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS):

“In those years in which Congress has adopted a budget resolution … it has adopted the budget resolution an average of almost 37 days after the target date. The FY1991 budget resolution was adopted the latest, on October 9, 1990, or 177 days after the deadline. The earliest adoption of a budget resolution was for FY1994, on April 1, 1993, or 14 days before the deadline.” 13

Spending

Once a budget is passed, Congress is supposed to enact 12 spending bills to fund the government on an individual basis (instead of lumping the bills together). Fiscal Year 1995 is the last time all bills were completed individually and signed into law on or before October 1 14.

  • In Fiscal Year 1997, all bills were completed on time but five bills were wrapped into one bill 15. Appropriations bills are traditionally moved individually—one at a time.
  • According to the CRS: “Regular appropriations were enacted on time in only four instances (FY1977, FY1989, FY1995, and FY1997). No continuing resolutions were enacted for three of these fiscal years, but continuing resolutions were enacted for FY1977 to fund certain unauthorized programs whose funding had been dropped from the regular appropriations acts.” 16
  • Unfortunately, out-of-control spending is not something that is new to Washington. Under President Bush the debt increased $6.1 trillion (between fiscal years 2001- 2009). Under President Obama’s budget, debt will increase by an estimated $5.7 trillion (between fiscal years 2009-2013). 17

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  1. White House President’s FY13 Budget. Historical Table 1.1. Date Accessed: March 16, 2012. http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals
  2. House Budget Committee. Path to Prosperity Budget Numbers. March 20, 2012.http://budget.house.gov/UploadedFiles/summary_tables.pdf
  3. Washington Post. Congress is addicted to stop-gap budgets. September 30, 2011. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/congress-is-addicted-to-stop-gap-budgets/2011/09/30/gIQAXa1dAL_blog.html
  4. Congressional Research Service. The Congressional Appropriations Process: An Introduction. December 2, 2010. P. 13. http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/97-684_20101202.pdf
  5. Numbers may change upon Treasury revisions. Treasury Direct Debt to the Penny. Accessed March, 2012. http://assests.opencrs.com/rpts/97-684_201202.pdf
  6. Calculated by dividing U.S. debt to the penny by total U.S. Households. U.S. Census Bureau USA Quick Facts. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html
  7. Calculated by dividing U.S. Debt to the penny by total U.S. Population. U.S. Census Population Clock. http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html
  8. U.S. Treasury Monthly Treasury Statement. February 2012. http://www.fms.treas.gov/mts/mts.xls
  9. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment Rate. February 2012. http://www.bls.gov/
  10. Washington Post. Congress is addicted to stop-gap budgets. September 30, 2011. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/congress-is-addicted-to-stop-gap-budgets/2011/09/30/gIQAXa1dAL_blog.html
  11. U.S. House of Representatives. Roll Call 216 S CON RES 13 On Agreeing to the Conference Report. April 29th, 2009. http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll216.xml
  12. U.S. Senate. Roll call 173 S CON RES 13 On Agreeing to the Conference Report. April 29th, 2009. http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=111&session=1&vote=00173
  13. Congressional Research Service. Congressional Budget Resolutions: Historical Information. January 29th, 2010. http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/137175.pdf
  14. Congressional Research Service. The Congressional Appropriations Process: An Introduction. December 2, 2010. P. 13. http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/97-684_20101202.pdf
  15. Congressional Research Service. The Congressional Appropriations Process: An Introduction. December 2, 2010. Pp. 13-14. http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/97-684_20101202.pdf
  16. Congressional Research Service. Duration of Continuing Resolutions in Recent Years. April 28, 2011. Summary. http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL32614.pdf
  17. White House President’s FY13 Budget. Historical Table 7.1. Date Accessed: March 16, 2012. http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals

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