About the Budget Committee
When many people think of the federal budget, they think of thick books filled with numbers and dense language. They think of bureaucrats and politicians arguing about percentages and big numbers—and it’s not always clear what it all really means for their families, their communities, and their jobs.
The truth is, while our budget process hasn’t always been as transparent and understandable as it ought to be, the policies that come out of it impact every single person in this country, every single day.
This is because budgets are about far more than just numbers on a page. They are about our values, our priorities, and our vision for what our government should look like now and in the future.
Through our federal budget, we lay out how much we as a nation value safe roads and bridges, affordable college education, programs like Medicare and Social Security, and our national security. We determine how much we want to invest in our workers and students, our most vulnerable families, and the infrastructure, research and innovation that will lay down a strong foundation for long-term economic growth.
We determine who pays for the government the people want, and how. It addresses questions like whether or not a teacher making $45,000 a year should pay higher or lower income taxes, and whether or not we can afford to continue to offer hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to wealthy individuals, oil companies, and corporate jet owners.
And our federal budget plans for how we are going to deal with our debt and deficit challenges, hopefully in a way that works for the middle class, is good for the economy, and is fair for the next generation.
The Senate Budget Committee plays an important role in this process. And Chairman Patty Murray is very focused on making sure that it’s not just politicians and bureaucrats making decisions in a vacuum, but that the ideas, stories, values, and priorities of families across the country have a platform to be heard and a loud voice at the table.
History and Jurisdiction of the Senate Budget Committee
The Senate Budget Committee was established in 1974 along with its counterpart in the House to give Congress, for the first time, standing committees focused solely on the federal budget as a whole.
Prior to 1974, responsibility for fiscal planning and oversight was spread across multiple committees, which left Congress without a platform to truly tackle the difficult but critical task of planning, prioritizing, and overseeing what the government was spending, as well as how we were taking in the revenue to pay for it.
The Budget Committees are responsible for drafting Congress' annual budget plan and monitoring action on the budget for the federal government. In addition, the Budget Committees have jurisdiction over the operation of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
The Senate Budget Committee is often confused with the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee, both of which have different jurisdictions. For more information about the Committee and the budget process, read The Congressional Budget Process: An Explanation.
The Senate Budget Committee is currently chaired by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) serves as Ranking Member.