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The Budget Process: How is it enforced?

Spending and revenue targets set in the annual budget resolution are enforced by points of order, which any member of Congress may raise against legislation that is inconsistent with those targets.

  • The House and Senate budget committees are responsible for providing estimates and calculations that track whether the targets are being met.
  • In the House, the Rules Committee often reports so-called special rules that set aside one or more points of order. The House then votes on the adoption of the special rule, which needs only a simple majority to pass.
  • In the Senate, if a point of order is lodged against a bill or an amendment, it takes a supermajority vote of sixty senators to overcome it.
  • The chairperson of the House or the Senate budget committee, often with the concurrence of the ranking member, may threaten to lodge a point of order against a legislative initiative that seriously violates the budget resolution or an established budget rule, but this step may just start a bargaining process. Eventually, the member pushing the initiative may settle for a less egregious violation in return for passage.
 
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   Entry 5 of 6