, 16 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Former Senate staffer @chadderr here. Reminder as the president’s budget gets picked over today, that it’s *Congress* that decides govt funding thru a nearly year-long process that few ppl actually know about/understand. (And yes, the FY20 process is underway.) A thread. 1/
You know how there is always a huge showdown in December over funding the government? The legislation Congress fights over at that point didn't come out of nowhere. It is a package of appropriations bills that start getting written the previous spring (so, now). 2/
Normally, the House and Senate pass a resolution ("the budget resolution") that sets spending levels for the year, then members of the Appropriations Committees use those levels to write their bills. (There are 12 subcommittees that each write a bill for their parts of govt.) 3/
That probably *won't* happen this year. To complicate things, spending levels are actually already set by a law Congress passed back in 2011. But: Dems and most Repubs think these levels are too low, so when they write their approps bills, they're going to exceed them. 4/
This is a whole quagmire in and of itself, that underscores how bad the Budget Control Act of 2011 was. (Read more about spending caps and the need for a "caps deal" here: indivisible.org/resource/legis…) Let's sat that aside for now. 5/
So instead of relying on a budget resolution or the BCA-established spending levels, appropriators are just going to come up with their own! (By the way, these are called "302(b)s," and this is where we are in the process right now.) 6/
Also happening right now: appropriators are taking "appropriations requests" from their constituents -- that's you. So this, RIGHT NOW, is the point in the appropriations cycle where you have the most input on the fight that plays out in December*. 7/
How do you do this? Most appropriators have a section on their website with instructions for telling them what your spending priorities are. For example, here is Matt Cartwright's (PA-08). Note his deadline of 3/15. (These vary office to office.) cartwright.house.gov/appropriations 8
House subcommittees have mostly set an April 1 deadline for receiving appropriation requests from MoCs. The Hill is jam packed everyday with groups coming in to make requests, and sign on letters are flying across staff email chains. (This period is called "March madness.") 9/
April: subcommittees will write their respective spending bills. Staff sifts thru all the requests they received from MoCs to see which programs have most support. This is why it's really important that MoCs include your priorities among their requests. Those go in the bill. 10/
May: House leadership says May will be spent on committee mark ups. Mark up is first time the process goes from behind the scenes to out in the open, because it's first time each draft approps bill becomes public. This is the time to #lightupthephones if you don't like them. 11/
June: House leadership says they'll put approps bills on the floor. (Sounds too ambitious to this former staffer, but we'll see.) If they do go to the floor, a few less controversial bills will get packaged together in a "mini-bus." Another time to call if you don't like them! 12
Right before or right after floor consideration is typically where the process breaks down. Come the end of the fiscal year, 9/30/19, it's likely Congress will have passed only a few or none of the approps bills, and a CR will be required to keep govt open. 13/
*I made a big prediction in tweet 7, that a CR will be required in Sept that takes us until Dec. I'd say we're too far out to indulge such wild speculation, except this is how it's gone each of last 6 yrs. (Another prediction: CR will go to 12/13/19, 2 Fris before Christmas.) 14/
That means much of the period between committee mark up and the Dec fight will all be behind the scenes. A good opportunity to remind your MoCs what your priorities are. Leadership makes all the decisions in the end, but you want your MoC planting seeds early and often. 15/
So remember that POTUS's budget out today has very little *policy* meaning (but it is obviously a clear pic of his warped priorities). Your MoC, esp if on Approps, is already at work writing the bills Congress will fight over in Dec. Now's the time to tell them what you think. 16
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