Budget & Appropriations
Spending Cuts and Debt affect us all and dealing with these issues are important to my work in Congress.
Breaking Down the Budget & Appropriations Process
Congress’ top legislative responsibility is funding federal government operations each year. I take this duty very seriously –working with local and state government, colleges and universities, and community organizations to understand what programs are most important to Metro Atlanta.
As the Dean of the Georgia delegation, I often work with my colleagues to serve the best interests of our state. We often find ways to put partisanship aside for the greater good of our constituents.
As Congress continues the process of reducing the federal deficit and debt, I am focused on making cuts to ineffective programs, while protecting those which have a proven track-record of serving Metro Atlanta residents, local governments, and institutions.
I have long opposed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and I believe that the time is long overdue to end these wars and invest these dollars here at home. These wars have cost American taxpayers $2.3 trillion; the current budget deficit is $1.5 trillion. I strongly believe the pathway to fiscal responsibility begins with ending these wars.
I hope that you will take the time to review this section of my website to better understand how the federal budget and appropriations process works.
Article One of the United States' Constitution grants Congress the power to allocate federal funds. This process includes the annual fiscal year budget and fiscal year appropriations cycle.
Three primary Committees have jurisdiction over all federal fiscal matters:
- The Budget Committee manages the congressional budget process
- The Appropriations Committee manages all discretionary federal funding for a given fiscal year; and
- The Ways and Means Committee crafts all revenue-related legislation and also authorizes certain programs. Congressman Lewis serves as a senior Member of this Committee.
Other congressional committees develop authorizing legislation for federal discretionary and mandatory programs. Authorization laws establish, continue, or modify federal programs. In most cases, Congress cannot fund programs that have not been authorized.
Authorizing committees have primary jurisdiction over mandatory funding which composes more than half of the federal budget. Most mandatory funds are spent on entitlement programs - e.g. Social Security, Medicare, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Discretionary funding is about one-third of all federal funding and is organized into 12 major appropriations bills. The authorizing committees set the ceiling for the maximum amount of funding that can be dedicated to discretionary federal initiatives; the appropriators allocate actual dollars to these initiatives each fiscal year.
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