One Month Until Congressional Budgets Come Due

The deadline for the House and Senate Budget Committees to propose and reconcile their respective budgets for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 – April 15th – is now a month away. Budget season is now underway with the delayed release of the President’s budget proposal, and both branches of government must ultimately come to an agreement by October 1st to fund the government and avoid a government shutdown while the debt ceiling must be raised before extraordinary measures are exhausted.

The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

It has now been 20 years since Congress has passed a budget on time, and last year neither of the Budget Committees even drafted a budget. What should be considered a procedural given has long since become an unsurprising yet disgraceful abdication of leadership.

The White House shares the blame for the budget process already being behind schedule, with its delayed release of the President’s budget proposal for the third year in a row. But with the budget now out in the open, it’s time for the House and Senate to put forward their own priorities and work in earnest toward finding workable compromises.

The clock is ticking – not only for the budget process, but also for the nation’s fiscal health. With inflation remaining stubbornly high and debt set to reach historic records in just five years, curbing our borrowing addiction and reversing course should be paramount. The President included nearly $3 trillion of deficit reduction in his budget, and the Budget Committees should include at least as much and preferably more in their respective budgets.

The path leading to April 15th is clear. Lawmakers should first set a responsible fiscal target for meeting the nation’s needs; develop a plan for fighting inflation through near-term deficit reduction; propose a broader plan to curb deficits over the next decade; put forth credible offsets for any new spending; include a plan to deal with expiring provisions, including the 2017 tax cuts and other expiring policies like the IRA's expanded ACA subsidies; and do it all with reasonable, gimmick-free economic assumptions.

Budgets are statements of values; we cannot run the nation without one. In order to get there, we need all bodies to present their preferences and then work together through compromise to put in place a budget for the entire nation.

The task is daunting – but so are the issues we must face.


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