Legislative update: FY 2016 budget proposal, Senate Budget Committee chair

FY 2016 budget proposal, Senate Budget Committee chair

The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee today released a fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget resolution that recommends short-term and long-term federal revenue and spending levels. The proposed budget calls for the following, among other proposals:

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  • A $5.1 trillion reduction in spending over the 10-year budget window
  • Revising spending and revenue targets of various Senate committees to take into account legislation relating to tax reform, extending certain (unspecified) expired tax provisions, and repealing the medical device excise tax
  • Repealing “Obamacare” (i.e., the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the healthcare-related provisions of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010), using the “reconciliation” process that is described below
  • Requiring the Joint Committee on Taxation to provide a macroeconomic estimate of “major” tax legislation—in addition to the “conventional” revenue estimate
  • Changing certain Senate procedural rules relevant to tax legislation


The FY 2016 budget resolution and related documents will be made available on the Senate Budget Committee website.

Overview of budget process

The budget process begins with the submission of the president’s budget proposal (submitted by the Obama administration in February 2015).

Next, the House and Senate each considers a budget resolution—a non-binding, internal directive to congressional committees for their consideration as they write legislation implementing the coming year’s budget. This resolution typically is initiated in the budget committee of each chamber.

The budget resolution also can set in motion “reconciliation”—a process that limits the Senate’s unrestricted debate rules and allows it to pass by a simple majority vote spending and revenue bills following the parameters set out in the resolution (subject to special rules that can govern the content of legislation).

If the House and Senate agree on spending and revenue targets, their concurrent resolution would establish spending and revenue targets for the substantive committees in each chamber, commencing the reconciliation process.

What’s next?

The House and Senate Budget committees have begun their respective budget resolutions and are expected to complete the committee processes this week.

The full House and Senate are expected to take up their respective budget resolution bills next week. Assuming passage of both bills, it is unclear when the two chambers will begin to work out any differences between their bills. The Budget Act provides for final action on the resolution by May 15, although there are no consequences for failure to meet that deadline.

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