Big Red Car huddled in front of a fire in the 37F ATX, brrrr. Today we talk budget, budget of the USA.
OK, so the dirty little secret is that we don’t really have a comprehensive budget to run the USA; we have a series of Appropriations Bills — twelve to be exact.
Huh, Big Red Car?
Yes, so, let’s dig into it, shall we?
Show me the money, Big Red Car
OK, first, let’s identify the players, shall we?
The action is focused on two committees in the US Congress:
1. The US House Committee on Appropriations; and,
2. The US Senate Committee on Appropriations.
Subcommittees do the real work
These committees (in the House and Senate) are subdivided into a dozen subcommittees. Each subcommittee works up an appropriation — spending plan — for the area of their oversight and expertise.
1. Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies [This is the funding for the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, and the Food and Drug Administration.]
OK, you get the pattern? There is a subcommittee and a department of the US government. Most of the time the correlation is obvious.
2. Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies [US Department of Commerce, US Department of Justice, Science policy of the US]
3. Defense [US Department of Defense]
4. Energy and Water Development [US Department of Energy and Water Development]
5. Financial Services and General Government [US Department of the Treasury, General Government (US Federal Courts, Executive Office of the POTUS, Washington, DC)]
6. Homeland Security [US Department of Homeland Security]
7. Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies [US Department of the Interior, US Environmental Protection Agency]
8. Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies [US Department of Labor, US Department of Health and Human Services, US Department of Education]
9. Legislative Branch [US Congress]
10. Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies [Military Construction, US Department of Veterans Affairs]
11. State, Foreign Operations and Related Agencies [US Department of State and Foreign Operations]
12. Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies [US Department of Transportation, US Department of Housing and Urban Development
So, there you have it, dear reader, the building blocks for the Federal Budget — twelve distinct appropriations bills overseen by a dozen subcommittees under the US House Committee on Appropriations and the US Senate Committee on Appropriations.
The government cannot spend any money unless it is appropriated.
OK, how did we get into the current mess, Big Red Car?
Now, that you understand the appropriations process, let’s look at where we are today — we have NINE of the TWELVE appropriations agreed to. That is why 25% of the government is closed down — 25% (three) of the appropriations are not finished.
Which ones, Big Red Car?
The big one is Homeland Security which funds the US Department of Homeland Security and the one in which money to build The Wall/Fence/Slats is appropriated.
President Trump wants $5,000,000,000 to improve border security on our Southern border.
Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer say, “Nyet! No soup for you, Donald, and no wall money.”
So, WTF is a Continuing Resolution, Big Red Car?
When the House and the Senate can’t get their work done on time and approve all of the appropriations, they agree to continue the funding of the impacted department for some period of time at the prior rate — prior year appropriation level — with some modifications.
A CR — Continuing Resolution — is the Congress kicking the can down the road until it gets off its collective dead ass and does its job.
How big is the Federal Budget, Big Red Car?
Good question, dear reader. The US Federal Budget for FY 2019 (Fiscal Year 2019 starts on 1 October 2018) is $4,407,000,000,000 — $4.4 TRILLION.
Federal receipts are estimated at $3,422,000,000,000 — $3.4 TRILLION.
The DEFICIT is estimated to be $985,000,000,000 — $985 BILLION.
The Trump wall request is $5,000,000,000 — $5 BILLION out of $4.4 TRILLION.
That’s 0.1136% of the total expenditures of the US in FY 2019 ($5,000,000,000/$4,407,000,000,000 = 0.001136 = 0.1136%).
So, dear reader, there you have it. Just the facts. But, know this — the US Congress didn’t do its job to debate, approve, and pass the dozen appropriations bills.