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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The Impact of Sequestration:
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WASHINGTON – Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) made the following statement in response to the administration’s executive order issued today that authorizes the indefinite detention of children in violation of decades of Federal child welfare law:
“Make no mistake: Today’s executive order fails to address or end this moral crisis. It merely replaces the unacceptable evil of family separation with the unacceptable evil of child detention.
WASHINGTON — This afternoon, the House Ways and Means Committee passed unprecedented tax cut legislation. As the only Georgian serving on the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Lewis tracked all Committee votes and amendments to ensure that public received timely information. Following the completion of the four-day markup, Rep. Lewis made the following statement –
On December 19 and 20, 2017, Congressional Republicans passed H.R. 1, their bill to cut taxes for the richest Americans and for corporations on the backs of working and middle-class families, students, and seniors.
This plan, first introduced in the House on November 2, affects every American, every taxpayer in current and future generations. In response to constituent concerns about this bill's impact, the below pages track every aspect of the bill's movement in the House and Senate.
WASHINGTON – During a series of two House Ways & Means hearings today, Rep. John Lewis railed against the Trump Administration budget. During the committee’s afternoon hearing with Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin:
“I’ve often said that a budget proposal is a statement of values and priorities. This administration makes it crystal clear that the hungry, the middle class, the elderly, and the struggling will be left out and left behind.
WASHINGTON—During a marathon 18-hour markup of the Ryancare proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Democrats on the House Ways & Means Committee engaged in a long struggle to amend the Ryan alternative. They were concerned that, as written, the proposal robs the most vulnerable Americans, including millions who were only recently able to afford healthcare due to the ACA, in favor of payoffs to corporate health insurers and the wealthiest Americans. Ryancare was introduced without a Congressional Budget Office score, so no one knows how much Ryancare will co
WASHINGTON—Today during the Ways & Means markup of Ryancare, intended to repeal President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), Rep. Lewis offered an amendment to “certify” that no American would lose their healthcare during the repeal and replace process the Republican majority is advancing. The markup is being managed by the Republican majority in an unusual, piecemeal fashion. One part of the proposal is being debated at a time, instead of debating and evaluating the entire bill, as is generally the procedure.
Rep. John Lewis made this statement today in the Ways & Means Oversight Subcommittee Hearing on the Social Security Representative Payee Program:
Good Morning. Mr. Chairmen, thank you for holding today’s hearing. I would also like to thank all the witnesses for being here today.
As the cost of war skyrockets and its contribution to the federal deficit continues to increase, it is important that Americans fully understand where their tax dollars are spent and how they are spent. This accounting is especially important as cuts are proposed to important safety net programs like Medicare and Social Security, as well as to services for the unemployed, elderly, women, families and children.
In just one year, Democrats passed landmark reforms to make the earmark process more transparent and continue to provide increased transparency for the budget, appropriations, and earmark process from both the administration and Congress.
Under the former system, some earmarks, also known as congressional funding directives, were excessive and unreasonable, but many more supported meaningful, national programs and helped local communities benefit from their federal tax contributions and/ or meet federal mandates.
The annual congressional budget is the blueprint for all federal spending, revenue, and debt limits. The process begins each year usually in early February when the President sends Congress a proposed budget outlining all federal funding for the upcoming fiscal year.