Senate committees

In this step, both the House and the Senate committees prepare the document, which would be finished by April for the consideration and enactment (Nation Master, 2008). Once the resolution is passed on both floors, the two houses of Congress prepares a conference report for the purpose of harmonizing conflicting provisions of the House and Senate resolutions (Nation Master, 2008). Once the conference report has been finalized with the reconciliation of the reports of both houses of Congress, the adoption of the conference report is the last step for the budget resolution (Nation Master, 2008).

The budget resolution is defined as a “concurrent resolution”; it is not a law and the signature of the President is not a requirement (Nation Master, 2008). Hence, there has been no appropriation of any resources for the adoption of the resolution (Nation Master, 2008). This then serves as the guide in the process of appropriating the resources in the budget (Nation Master, 2008). The new budget, once enacted, will take effect on the 1st of October (Nation Master, 2008).

A recent political clash in the budget process dealt with the incoming leadership of the Congress to implement reforms in the practice of “earmark” spending in the budget (Longley, 2008). “Earmarks” can be defined as resources that are inserted by the individual lawmakers for projects or other programs designed to benefit the constituents of that lawmaker (Longley, 2008). These projects usually are designed to gain the votes of the constituents in the districts of the legislator (Longley, 2008).

But these funds are usually hidden in the paperwork of the larger bill so that they do not go through the usual evaluation process of the other budgetary measures in the proposal (Longley, 2008). A contributing factor in the budget process is the gargantuan size of the bureaucracy of the Federal government (Jim Saxton, 1997). Reforms must be made so that the process must be made to cater to the needs of the majority rather than to the “special-interest” groups (Saxton, 1997).

The steps also should be taken so that the accountability of the lawmaker will be enhanced in their responsibilities to their voters (Saxton, 1997). The immensity of the government and the expenditures that the state pursues becomes an obstacle to the growth of the state (Saxton, 1997). The plan, being initiated by the incoming chairpersons of the Appropriations Committee of the Senate and House, West Virginia Senator Democrat Robert Byrd and Wisconsin Representative David Obey, hope to prevail upon their counterparts in Congress to assimilate the process that will reform the earmarks in the budget (Longley, 2008).

As it was with the enactment of the 1976 Tax Reform Act, the process displayed the political fortitude shown of the two houses at the time (Neil Kotler, 1977). In the deliberations, it did show the weaknesses as well as the strength of the new budgetary systems being championed by reformers of the system (Kotler, 1997). The forces in operation then, as in the current Congress, must take into consideration the political camps in Congress and the country in general (Kotler, 1997).

Also, the budgetary process must be made equal in terms of giving the most to the majority rather than just a select few in the society (Kotler, 1997).

References

Amadeo, K. (2008). Who’s who in the U. S. budget process. Retrieved January 7, 2009, from http://useconomy. about. com/od/fiscalpolicy/p/Who_budget. htm Kotler, N. G. (1977). The politics of the budgetary process. Retrieved January 7, 2009, from http://resources. metapress. com/pdf-preview. axd? code=2653488608735067&size=large