Posted: 9:38 pm Sunday, April 16th, 2017
By Jamie Dupree
In the midst of a two week break from legislative work in Washington, D.C., most lawmakers in the Congress probably did not mark the failure of the House and Senate to approve a spending blueprint by a yearly April 15 deadline, as once again the budget work of the House and Senate is behind schedule before the leaves are fully on the trees.
“On or before April 15 of each year, the Congress shall complete action on a concurrent resolution on the budget,” it states quite clearly in the federal statute that sets out a series of deadlines for lawmakers to finish work on the budget by October 1, the start of the new fiscal year.
But this year, that budget resolution is nowhere in sight, as the Congress has made that April 15 deadline only a handful of times since it was put into law in 1974.
Just a few years ago when the GOP was in the minority in Congress, Republicans routinely mocked Democrats for failing to approve the budget resolution, which is a non-binding budget blueprint that guides the Congress on spending.
In 2015, Republicans finished work on the budget resolution in May; but in 2016, the GOP was unable to complete work on that measure until early 2017.
Now another budget resolution is needed for the 2018 budget.
April 15 is the goal for approval of the budget resolution, but won't happen again this year (true for R's & D's)
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) March 30, 2017
“Congress has seldom completed action on the budget resolution by the April 15 target date specified in the Budget Act,” noted the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities last year.
While the budget resolution remains on hold in 2017, there are still no public answers on another budget issue – how lawmakers will deal with funding for the U.S. Government, which runs out on April 28.
The details of that funding plan are not expected to be revealed until lawmakers return to work in Washington next week – by that time, the House and Senate will have four days to approve a final deal to avoid a government shutdown.
The White House has downplayed talk of a shutdown.
“I think we’re making significant progress,” said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer last week. “I feel very good about the momentum,” he added.
Lawmakers could be addressing that piece of legislative business – if they were in D.C. this week.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.