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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Deeming Resolutions

Many posts have discussed the federal budget. 

 Don Wolfensberger at The Hill:

In 30 of the last 49 years, Congress has not met the April 15 deadline for approving a budgetbudget resolution. The last time Congress completed action on all 12 appropriations by Oct. 1 was 1996. It has passed all 12 of the money bills only four times: in 1977, 1989, 1995 and 1997. In the last 11 of 13 years it has not enacted even one of the 12 money bills by Oct. 1.

Consequently, it has had to rely on stop-gap continuing appropriations resolutions (CRs) 131 times since 1995, averaging 4.2 times a year. The alternative to CRs are government shutdowns, which have occurred on five occasions since 1995, the longest lasting 35 days (Dec. 22, 2018 – Jan. 25, 2019). Meanwhile, Congress has piled-up increasing deficits and debt and has been forced 63 times since 1995 to rely on emergency supplemental appropriations bills.

Over the long term, the congressional budget process the congressional budget process has not been a pretty picture — more like a kindergarten class finger-painting mural than an impressionist’s landscape.

One handy device Congress has adopted to circumvent its failure to adopt a budget resolution that allows it to process spending bills has been the so-called “deeming resolution.” The House and Senate insert language containing all the requisite language of a budget resolution into a must-pass measure and deems it to be adopted with passage of the host measure.

While the two chambers have differing budget levels, that still frees-up the pending appropriations bills to move forward to the next house.

According to Congressional Research Service budget expert Megan S. Lynch, the “deeming” solution has been utilized in nine of the 13 fiscal years from 1999 to 2013 when Congress has not mutually agreed on a final budget resolution. I suspect that solution has been used ever since.