Difficulties in Spending Federal Tax Dollars

Federal Tax Dollars

A Continuing Resolution isn’t the typical subject of water cooler conversations. Since many stories in the news recently have focused on the subject, this is a good opportunity to figure out what it really is and where it comes from.

The President of the United States is responsible for creating a federal budget each fiscal year. After careful planning, he submits his budget request to Congress for approval. From there, it’s divided into 12 sections, known as appropriations bills. Each bill goes to a separate subcommittee in both the House and the Senate with jurisdiction over the content in a particular bill. A vote by Congress is then held on each section.

If all goes well, the final package is approved by both houses of Congress and is sent back to the President for his signature. When a disagreement over one or more provisions occurs, Congress can choose to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR). A CR extends the previous year’s budget into the next year to avoid any gaps in federal services.

A CR is meant to be a temporary measure to continue federal funding until an agreement can be made on the content of the budget. When Congress cannot agree on a budget, and they fail to create a CR to authorize federal spending, all but the most essential services in the impacted federal agencies and programs must shut down when the existing budget expires.

For the recent Continuing Resolution from September 24, 2012, click here.

For the 2013 Federal Budget, click here.

What do you think about the process of operating on a Continuing Resolution when an agreement on a budget can’t be reached?

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4 Comments

  1. Jonn

     /  February 25, 2013

    What I don’t get is why the government needs tax dollars at all to pay for the budget. The world loves US dollars, and it seems we can print as much as we want without any repercussions from other nations. Why not just print money for federal programs and let tax dollars stay in the pockets of Americans? Can you imagine the growth this country would experience if all that cash flooded into goods and services? Unemployment would the lowest in history and people would have a higher standard of living. People could get free healthcare and education, unshackling the potential to accomplish great things. I think that’s definitely something worth considering.

    • Grannybunny

       /  February 26, 2013

      I suspect you are being facetious. If a government prints money without any of it being backed up by something of value, the money soon becomes worthless. Government spending — financed by tax dollars — also floods into goods and services, just like private sector spending does; both contribute to the economy.

  2. Anonymous

     /  February 26, 2013

    Congress is paid to do their job. If they cannot get the job done, they should not get paid until they do. Congress is not suffering, it’s the American people that suffer the most. If I don’t do my job, I dont’ get paid. For over two years, this Congress has not done anything to help the American people and Congress’ paychecks should be withheld until they can work it out.

  3. Anonymous

     /  February 26, 2013

    I agree 3000% with Anonymous that if Congress isn’t doing their job they should give up all pay and benefits until they do their job. I just read of a retiring congressman that is going to be receiving $100,000+ a year in retirement. Unbelievable. They were in office 30 years, probably did little or nothing to help the American people and now they are going to pay an outrageous amount for him/her to continue to do nothing. Give it up. Pay them middle income salaries at best and none of the other fringe benefits they have been receiving for way too many years. I bet if you did this the budget would be balanced.

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