by Romina Boccia, Michael Sargent
The Heritage Foundation
April 01, 2014
The federal fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The budget process calls for presidential, House, and Senate budgets, with the latter two to be resolved in a budget conference to arrive at the discretionary topline level from which the 12 appropriations bills are written. This process completely collapsed in 2013. By September 2013, Congress was far from passing appropriations bills in large part because the Senate refused to live within the spending level agreed to in the 2011 Budget Control Act. Rather, the budget process was neglected so that by the end of fiscal year (FY) 2013, Congress was debating a continuing resolution as the federal government prepared for its first shutdown in 17 years. This Issue Brief examines the budgetary dysfunction that characterized FY 2013 in order to evaluate how lawmakers can avoid similar mistakes in the future.