The Budget Process: The Good, The Bad and The Exceedingly Complicated
March 1, 2017
On May 4, 2017, Congress passed a $1.1 trillion omnibus to fund the government for the remainder of FY 2017. Funded programs include Women’s Business Centers, Small Business Development Centers, and Community Development Financial Institutions. The process for the FY 18 budget begins now.
What’s in the FY 17 Budget that Impacts Small Businesses?
The Good: The Process Is Largely the Same
The process should be pretty straightforward – the President submits a budget request to Congress in early spring. The House and Senate Budget Committees then pass budget resolutions using the President’s request for guidance. The Appropriations Committees appropriate the funds. Finally, the House and Senate meet to reconcile the differences of their appropriations bills before sending the finished products to the President to sign into law. Easy, right?
The Bad: It Doesn’t Really Work That Way
While the above process lays out how it’s supposed to work, history has proven otherwise. The last time all 12 bills that make up the budget were delivered on time to the President’s desk was in 1996—more than twenty years ago.
Enter the Continuing Resolution budget strategy. In order to avoid a government shutdown on the first day of the fiscal year, and in the absence of 12 appropriations bill passing the Congress by October 1, Congress has to pass a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR), which funds the government while the bills are still going through the appropriations process. While a temporary strategy, Congress takes great liberty with this budget mechanism
The Exceedingly Complicated: FY17 and 18 All Mixed Into One
The budget process is typically delayed in the first year of an Administration, since the White House is focused on confirming the cabinet and assembling staff. Now that Congress has decided on funding for the rest of FY 17—it must immediately engage on the FY 2018 budget which is coming soon. AEO has anticipated this flurry of activity, and has been hitting the halls of Congress advocating for our nation’s microbusinesses.
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