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Mullin' It Over Column

The President's Budget

by Congressman Markwayne Mullin

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Washington, March 30, 2017 | comments
Earlier this month, President Trump released a blueprint for his budget with an aim to put ‘America First.’  This blueprint makes it clear that our president is committed to creating a much smaller government that Americans voted in favor of last November.  He proposed increasing spending for national security and more funding to rebuild our nation’s military in his budget request to Congress.

I support several portions of President Trump’s budget including the funding increases to ramp up our defense in order to defeat Islamic terrorism and shift dollars from foreign aid back to our own country.  His background in business is evident as he trims the ineffective and expensive programs that our government has funded for far too long.  His suggestion to cut the EPA by about 30% allows us to prioritize other important portions of our government such as VA medical care and strengthening our military.

One common misconception about the budget process is that Congress considers the president’s budget exactly as he proposes it.  Just as the president sets a legislative agenda in his State of the Union speech – even though he can’t write or draft legislation – the president submits a budget with funding for his priorities for the upcoming fiscal year.  Outlined by the U.S. Constitution, Congress alone holds the power of the purse.  This means that in reality, the president’s budget is only the beginning of the negotiations.  Congress ultimately sets the funding levels for all federal programs.

After the president submits his budget request to Congress, it is up to the House and Senate to pass budget resolutions out of the House Committee on the Budget and the Senate Committee on the Budget.  Next, the Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate determine the exact levels of spending they will allot to each discretionary program in the federal government.  Each of the 12 subcommittees within the Appropriations Committee drafts a bill for the agencies that fall within their jurisdiction, and after the bills are marked up and passed out of committee, they are brought to the House and Senate floor for a vote.  Ideally, all 12 appropriations bills pass the House and Senate, and after agreeing on the final bill, the legislation goes to the president’s desk to be signed into law. 

With President Trump in the White House, I’m optimistic that Congress can work together to put forward a budget that can be signed into law.  For the past few years, Congress has passed either a continuing resolution or an omnibus in order to keep the government from shutting down.  Families in Oklahoma have to balance their budget, so why shouldn’t Congress have to do the same?  Our national debt is far from sustainable and I look forward to supporting a budget that will put our nation’s spending back on a more fiscally conservative path.  

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