Tags: budget | CR | shutdown | appropriation

The Budget Battle Handbook

By    |   Friday, 27 Sep 2013 07:55 AM

From now until Oct. 1, much news will be focused on the federal government's budget/appropriation and whether there will be government shutdown.

How do you separate the rhetoric from the facts? Here is a short handbook for those wanting to know what is happening.

The federal government's fiscal year is from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30. In order to operate, it needs to:

1. Know how much it can spend during that fiscal year (budget)

2. Have permission to spend that budgeted money during the fiscal year (appropriations)

3. Have enough cash to fund that spending (debt ceiling)

Let's take the budget and appropriations first, because the current authority expires on Sept. 30, which is before the federal government runs out of money, projected sometime in mid-October.

Going on five years now, America has had to function without a budget or appropriation passing Congress and signed by President Obama. Instead of trying to finger point, suffice it to say that Republicans and Democrats, and Congress and the president are just too far apart on increasing/decreasing spending and taxes to agree on a budget.

So then how does the government operate without a budget/appropriation and still avoid a shutdown? It uses a makeshift solution called a continuing resolution (CR). A CR is a law that Congress passes funding existing federal programs at their current level until the CR expires or a budget or an appropriation is passed.

In the very unlikely event of a budget or an appropriation being passed by Congress and signed by the president by Sept. 30, the government will continue with business as usual. In the possible event of a CR becoming law by Sept. 30, the government will continue with business as usual.

However, in the possible event that Congress and the president miss the Sept. 30 deadline, a government shutdown will be triggered until a budget and an appropriation or a CR is passed.

The shutdown would include all parts of government except those employees essential to preventing the loss of life or property and entitlement payments. Air traffic controllers and the border patrol would report to duty, as would food inspectors.

Social Security checks would continue, as would Medicare payments. But national parks, visa offices and most parts (if not all of) the cabinet departments would be closed (e.g., Education).

A shutdown would have a sizeable negative impact on the American economy and could push our slow recovery into a stall or worse. It would also reduce the confidence the rest of the world has in America, which would hurt our image, credibility and possibly our credit. And to the delight of our enemies and competition, it would highlight the perils of democracy.

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Ed-Moy
From now until Oct. 1, much news will be focused on the federal government's budget/appropriation and whether there will be government shutdown.
budget,CR,shutdown,appropriation
449
2013-55-27
Friday, 27 Sep 2013 07:55 AM
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