Reconciliation and the 2016 Budget Process

WASHINGTON, DC – The Senate Budget Committee today released its June 23rd issue of the Budget Bulletin focused on the reconciliation process, which could soon be used for the first time in more than five years. The Budget Bulletin provides regular expert articles by Senate Budget Committee analysts on the issues before Congress relating to the budget, deficits, debt, and the economy.

Read the full Senate Budget Bulletin here.

Excerpts follow:

Reconciliation is a fast-track procedure designed to facilitate changes in laws governing mandatory spending programs, or entitlements, and/or revenues to achieve certain budgetary goals reflected in a budget resolution.

Like a budget resolution, a reconciliation bill is a privileged vehicle. Therefore, the motion to proceed requires only a simple majority to pass, debate time in the Senate is limited, amendments must be germane, the bill cannot be filibustered, and final passage requires a simple majority. Unlike a budget resolution, however, it is submitted to the president for his signature or veto.

Before the reconciliation process begins, both chambers must pass a concurrent budget resolution conference report that includes reconciliation instructions to committees. These instructions designate which committee(s) should report reconciliation legislation, the date by which they should report, the overall dollar targets to be achieved, and the time period over which to measure the budgetary impact of the proposed statutory changes.

Section 2001(a) of the conference report for S. Con. Res. 11, the 2016 concurrent budget resolution adopted by the House and Senate, directs the Senate Committee on Finance and Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) to recommend changes in laws within their respective jurisdictions to reduce the on-budget deficit by a total of $1 billion each over the 2016-2025 period. Recommendations are due to the Budget Committee by July 24.

Addressing reconciliation in the House, section 2002 provides instructions for the committees on Education and the Workforce, Energy and Commerce, and Ways and Means to report their recommended changes in laws to reduce the on-budget deficit by at least $1 billion each over the 2016-2025 period. In addition, the House committees received non-binding instructions to use reconciliation to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law.



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