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  • Sheri Rivlin Allan Rivlin

Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Process Schedule

When President Biden releases his budget proposal for the fiscal year 2024 on Thursday, he will already be more than a month late. The 1974 Congressional Budget Act calls for this step that starts the annual budget process to occur on the first Monday in February which would have been February 6th, not March 9th the date chosen for the Philadelphia speech that will put the Democrats back on offense in the fiscal policy battles with the House Republicans who have not yet abandoned their empty threat to cause a national debt default.

The tardiness of the President’s actions surrenders just a small fraction of the high ground the White House has earned in these budget negotiations. The other deadline may well slip by similar amount as the year unfolds although the fiscal year will end on schedule on September 30th.

Lifted from a September 2022, Congressional Research Service report, this Congressional Budget Process Timeline details the key deadlines and milestones in the budget process for fiscal year 2024.

After the release of the President’s budget proposal the next big action is the release of the CBO scoring. This amounts to a second opinion on the projections of the levels of spending, revenue, and deficit implied by the budget choices under an independent set of economic assumption.

The real action starts in April when the House Budget Committee releases their budget proposal. This will give us our first real look at the Republican’s counter proposal to the Democrats’ proposals in the President’s budget and the proposal from the Senate Budget Committee.

Republicans have put themselves in a very tight box, and their budget will have to accomplish something that is nearly impossible. The GOP came into power placing attention on the national debt and the annual deficits, and this is to their credit, but they refuse to consider tax increases, or even closing tax loopholes, that are likely to be prominent elements of the White House proposal. Since the State of the Union address Republicans are firmly stating that they now agree with former President Trump and President Biden that Social Security and Medicare are not to be touched. But if these areas are off the table, there is a real challenge, perhaps even an impossible challenge to see what Republicans could propose that would meaningfully reduce the deficit in other parts of the budget. This is what Biden meant by “Show me your budget.”

House of Representatives Budget Committee Chairman Jodey Arrington (R-TX) is talking about cutting “woke programs” giving us all hope that, finally we will learn how the term is defined, and it remains to be seen whether “woke” plus “waste, fraud, and abuse” will add up to a significant amount of deficit reduction. Republicans are also citing a budget produced by former (acting) Trump Budget Director, Russell Vought, that proposed deep cuts in Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Democrats are vowing to fight these cuts in popular programs. It seems unlikely such proposals will be popular with voters. Republicans would be proposing to keep taxes on the wealthy and large corporations low, while cutting healthcare services for the poor and poorly served. America is the wealthiest nation in the world, and we can afford to keep rural hospitals open as long as the wealthiest Americans and corporations pay their fair share of taxes.

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