Budget & Appropriations
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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We all should be encouraged that our economy is showing some signs of vitality. The Dow Jones average has been high, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 246,000 private sector jobs have been added in February alone, and jobs have increased every month for three straight years in that sector, totaling 6.35 million jobs. National unemployment fell last month to the lowest point since December 2008. All this is encouraging, but we are not out of the woods yet.
Tomorrow Thursday September 20, Rep. John Lewis will host a discussion entitled “Cities in the 21st Century: Lessons from the Making of Modern Atlanta” at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Room 143-B, from 2-4 pm.
WHO: Ambassador Andrew Young, Chair Andrew J. Young Foundation, Inc.
The Honorable Shirley Franklin, former Mayor of Atlanta
The Honorable Marc Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League
Dr. Harvey K. Newman, Professor, Georgia State University
WASHINGTON—Today The U.S. House of Representatives passed a watered down version of a Senate bill meant to stop members of Congress from using insider information to gain investment advantages. Senator Grassley lambasted House Republicans for weakening the “political intelligence” portion of the bill, which would require greater disclosure and transparency by members of Congress.
“President Barack Obama presented an inspiring vision of the future to the Congress and the American people tonight. An America built to last should certainly be the hope of every member of Congress and every citizen of this nation.
WASHINGTON--Today one of the least productive Congresses in recent history turned its attention to H. J. Res 98 for the only full day of voting scheduled this week. The resolution, unlikely to move in the Senate, expresses partisan disapproval of the President’s authority to extend the debt limit. Republican Presidents from Reagan to Bush raised the debt ceiling numerous times during their tenure without any complaint from Republican conservatives, though the deficit bloated more during these administrations than any others in the past 30 years. Rep.