Getting U.S. Spending Under Control I. The Budget Process

“No money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law”                                        U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Clause 9, Section 7

The U.S. national debt now stands at $31.4 trillion, after enormous increases during the pandemic. The new Republican House of Representatives insists on significant spending cuts in return for agreeing to raise the debt limit.

The President’s budget proposal will be unveiled on March 9, a month later than normal.  Then the House and Senate Budget Committees mark up the President’s budget, pass their own individual budgets, and then come to an overall agreement through joint conference. (

Finally, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees take over in May and pass individual spending bills for each of the various federal agencies.  Below are listed the Appropriations Subcommittees which do this work in the House of Representatives.   Finally, the separate House and Senate Appropriations Committees meet in conference to agree on overall spending levels for the federal agencies.



Senator Joe Manchin (D, WV) is urging that Democrats work with Republicans on both short-term spending cuts for this year as well as a long-term plan to get entitlement spending under control.  This augers well for achieving real bipartisan cooperation.

Conclusion.  The U.S. has a very serious problem of huge spending deficits year after year.  The new Republican House has taken the lead n insisting that Congress return to traditional “regular order” in processing spending requests from each of the various federal agencies.  For now, it looks like our national leaders will be able to work together, across party lines, to begin a process to get the annual budgeting and appropriations processes under sustainable control.  A sound fiscal future depends on their success in doing so.

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