Sometime in the next 24 hours we will be switching European Tribune over to a new layout. This will involve a little downtime and no doubt some teething troubles. Do not adjust your set. - Colman

The US budget process involves separate "authorization" and "appropriation" steps. Every year, for every budget item.
In general, funds for federal government programs must be authorized by an "authorizing committee" through enactment of legislation. Then, through subsequent acts by Congress, budget authority is then appropriated by the Appropriations Committee of the House. In principle, committees with jurisdiction to authorize programs make policy decisions, while the Appropriations Committees decide on funding levels, limited to a program's authorized funding level, though the amount may be any amount less than the limit.

In practice, the separation between policy making and funding, and the division between appropriations and authorization activities are imperfect. Authorizations for many programs have long lapsed, yet still receive appropriated amounts. Other programs that are authorized receive no funds at all.[citation needed] In addition, policy language--that is legislative text changing permanent law--is included in appropriation measures.

I don't know whether that's a Constitutional requirement as Oliver implies.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 13th, 2013 at 05:29:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The fact that the US "Budget" is not one coherent document and plan but a series of authorizations and appropriations certainly does not help the process. But as I understand it, if appropriations exceed revenues by $1.3 Trillion (and are known to do so) then the whole process is nonsensical - or in bad faith - if a funding mechanism (debt ceiling increase) is not also put in place - as was always the case until Obama got into power.

Otherwise the Republican congress can claim it authorized and appropriated for (say) medicaid, but Obama wouldn't implement it - and then sure him for not doing so. What if Obama (say) rather than cutting Medicaid cut military spending dramatically, withdrew from Afghanistan immediately, closed Guantanamo and all private prisons and let the prisoners go fee because there was nowhere to house them - do you think the House wouldn't impeach him? And yet he can claim they refused to fund those programs.

This could be fun. How quickly would the House cave on the debt ceiling then - or at least provide a specifically targeted funded mechanism for those expenditures?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot dotty communists) on Sun Jan 13th, 2013 at 05:57:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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