August 09, 2021

S.Conn.Res.14 – Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2022

NOTEWORTHY

Background: A budget resolution is a privileged piece of legislation. It is not subject to filibuster, and debate time is limited to 50 hours, equally divided. Amendments to the budget resolution must be germane and are subject to a simple majority vote threshold. A senator can raise a point of order against an amendment that violates the Budget Act; a motion to waive that point of order would require 60 votes. Once all debate time has been used or yielded back, senators may continue to offer further amendments. No debate is in order, but roll call votes can be taken. This is known as “vote-a-rama.” Once all amendments have been dispensed with, a vote on final passage occurs.

Floor Situation: The Senate is expected to consider the budget resolution on the floor the week of August 9. 

Executive Summary: The budget resolution will advance the Democrats’ reckless $4.2 trillion tax and spend plan. The resolution provides for $3.5 trillion in new mandatory spending to accommodate the reconciliation instructions , $263 billion in new discretionary spending, and $390 billion in increased interest on the debt.

The budget resolution would result in on-budget outlays in fiscal year 2022 of $4.7 trillion, compared to on-budget outlays under the CBO baseline of $4.5 trillion. On-budget outlays from 2022-2031 would total $53.1 trillion under the resolution, compared to the adjusted CBO baseline total of $48.9 trillion in on-budget outlays; this increase in part reflects the reconciliation instructions contained in Title II, the Democrats’ reckless tax and spend plan. On-budget revenues would total $3.4 trillion under the resolution in fiscal year 2022, compared to the CBO baseline of $3.4 trillion. Ten-year on-budget revenues would total $39 trillion under the resolution, compared to the CBO baseline of $38.9 trillion.  Under the resolution, debt held by the public would increase to $40 trillion in fiscal year 2031, compared to the CBO baseline of $35.8 trillion in FY 2031.

OVERVIEW OF THE ISSUE

The resolution contains reconciliation introductions for the following committees:

  1. Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

  2. Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

  3. Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

  4. Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

  5. Committee on Environment and Public Works

  6. Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

  7. Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

  8. Committee on Indian Affairs

  9. Committee on the Judiciary

  10. Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

  11. Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

  12. Committee on Finance

It does not include reconciliation instructions for the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the Senate Rules Committee.

CONSIDERATIONS ON THE BILL

The objective of this budget resolution is to initiate a partisan process to advance the Democrats’ $4.2 trillion tax and spend plan, which includes $3.5 trillion in new mandatory spending, $263 billion in new discretionary spending, and $390 billion in increased interest on the debt. 

The budget resolution contains reconciliation instructions to 12 Senate committees to increase the deficit by $1.75 trillion over 10 years. This includes a nominal instruction of not less than $1 billion in deficit reduction to the Finance Committee, which is designed to provide the flexibility for an additional $1.8 trillion in new spending, as well as job-killing tax hikes on every facet of our economy.

According to supporting documents provided by Budget Committee Chairman Sanders, the $3.5 trillion in new mandatory spending will be “fully offset.” Because the Finance Committee was given a broad reconciliation instruction that did not require or disclose a specific level of revenue, this can be accomplished entirely by raising $3.5 trillion in new taxes. There is no restriction on the amount of tax increases allowed under this budget resolution or through the fast-track reconciliation process.

According to a memorandum released by the Budget Committee majority, the committee’s “objective was to provide instructions that allow every major program proposed by President Biden to receive robust funding.” Specific policy priorities identified by Democrats include:

  1. Civilian Climate Corps funding

  2. Environmental justice and “climate equity” investments

  3. Methane fee

  4. Expansion of the Affordable Care Act and Medicare

  5. Tax hikes on job creators and workers

  6. Rollback of the cap on state and local tax deductions

  7. Carbon import fee

  8. Universal pre-k for 3 and 4-year olds

  9. Tuition-free community college

  10. Lawful permanent status for qualified immigrants

In March, Democrats enacted a $1.9 trillion reconciliation law under the auspices of “COVID relief.” This law, passed on a party-line basis in the Senate and House, was a first step toward their massive expansion of the federal welfare state, with direct government support decoupled from need and disconnected from the dignity of work.

The resolution does not include an instruction regarding an increase or suspension of the federal debt limit.

NOTABLE BILL PROVISIONS

TITLE I – RECOMMENDED LEVELS AND AMOUNTS

Title I contains recommended levels and amounts for various budget functions, revenues, budget authority, outlays, and debt.

The budget resolution would result in on-budget outlays in fiscal year 2022 of $4.7 trillion, compared to on-budget outlays under the CBO baseline of $4.5 trillion. On-budget outlays from 2022-2031 would total $53.1 trillion under the resolution, compared to the adjusted CBO baseline total of $48.9 trillion in on-budget outlays; this increase in part reflects the reconciliation instructions contained in Title II, the Democrats’ reckless tax and spend Plan.

On-budget revenues would total $3.4 trillion under the resolution in fiscal year 2022, compared to the CBO baseline of $3.4 trillion. Ten-year on-budget revenues would total $38.9 trillion under the resolution, compared to the CBO baseline of $38.9 trillion. 

Under the resolution, debt held by the public would increase to $40 trillion in FY 2031, compared to the CBO baseline of $35.8 trillion in FY 2031.

TITLE II – RECONCILIATION

The budget resolution contains reconciliation instructions to the following Senate committees to “report changes in laws within its jurisdiction that increase the deficit” from fiscal years 2022-2031 in the amounts outlined below.

  1. Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry: $135 billion

  2. Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs: $332 billion

  3. Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation: $83.1 billion

  4. Committee on Energy and Natural Resources: $198 billion

  5. Committee on Environment and Public Works: $67.3 billion

  6. Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions: $726.4 billion

  7. Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: $37 billion

  8. Committee on Indian Affairs: $20.5 billion

  9. Committee on the Judiciary: $107.5 billion

  10. Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship: $25 billion

  11. Committee on Veterans’ Affairs: $18 billion

The Committee on Finance is instructed to “report changes in laws within its jurisdiction that reduce the deficit” by not less than $1 billion from fiscal years 2022-2031.

The committees are ordered to report their recommendations to the Budget Committee by September 15, 2021, but there is no penalty for missing this deadline.

TITLE III – RESERVE FUNDS

Reserve funds allow the Budget Committee chairman to change numbers contained in an already-passed budget resolution if legislation meeting the reserve fund’s criteria is considered on the Senate floor. This allows the legislation to be considered without a budget point of order against it for violating the levels contained in the budget resolution.

The budget resolution contains the following reserve funds regarding future legislation:

  1. Legislation that “won’t raise taxes on people making less than $400,000”

  2. Reconciliation legislation pursuant to instructions in this resolution

  3. Deficit neutral legislation

TITLE IV – OTHER MATTERS

Title IV includes points of order for the purposes of budget enforcement in the Senate and other provisions.

Provides the authority to the Senate and House Budget Committee chairmen to adjust levels and allocations for emergency legislation. It also redefines what constitutes an emergency requirement and repeals a 60-vote point of order against emergency designations in the Senate.

Limit on advance appropriations during fiscal years 2022 and 2023 of $28.9 billion in each year, plus any amounts provided for the traditional exceptions of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and certain Veterans Affairs accounts, as well as legislation implementing a bipartisan infrastructure agreement and for the Indian Health Services and Indian Health Facilities accounts.

Allows adjustments to committee allocations if legislation is enacted that makes discretionary appropriations for any of the following purposes:

  1. Continuing disability reviews and redeterminations

  2. Internal revenue service enforcement activities to address the “Federal tax gap”

  3. Health care fraud and abuse control

  4. Reemployment services and eligibility assessments

  5. Wildfire suppression

  6. Disaster relief

  7. Veterans medical care

Provides enforcement filing authority for the Budget Committee chairman in case there is no conference committee on the budget resolution, and thus no joint explanatory statement, where committee allocation limits would typically be made.

Allows adjustments to levels and allocations to reflect changes resulting from legislation implementing a bipartisan infrastructure agreement.

Requires the Congressional Budget Office to consider funding for Head Start programs to continue at baseline levels for purposes of cost estimates for any child care or pre-kindergarten legislation in the 117th Congress.

ADMINISTRATION POSITION

This is a concurrent resolution and does not require signature from the president. The White House has not yet released a Statement of Administration Policy for S.Con.Res.14. Democrats have stated that the objective of this partisan budget process is to enact President Biden’s agenda, laid out in his jobs and families plans.

COST

The Congressional Budget Office does not score budget resolutions since a budget resolution does not change current law.

AMENDMENTS

Amendments will be considered, many in vote-a-rama.