The annual congressional budget process, outlined first in the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, is designed to have a steady annual rhythm. Since the late 1990s, however, Congress and the president have regularly struggled to complete some, if not all, of the prescribed actions on time. Increasingly, the recurring, annual dates have been joined by additional deadlines that have often turned into opportunities for high-stakes fiscal brinkmanship.
Below, we lay out the current budgetary calendar, featuring both the schedule provided for in the Congressional Budget Act as well as key dates that result from more recent congressional action. Importantly, the consequences of failing to meet any particular deadline vary. The president’s budget submission, for example, is frequently late, and Congress has not completed action on a budget resolution by the April 15 deadline since 2003. For others, the effects are significant. If Congress and the president do not adopt at least a temporary spending bill before the existing one expires, a partial government shutdown results. Failing to address the debt limit, meanwhile, would have potentially catastrophic effects on the overall economy.
We’ll update the information below as events occur, maintaining this as an up-to-date resource of when to expect future major budgetary actions from Congress.
|Date||Description||Source of Date|
|1st Monday in February||President’s Budget is submitted to Congress||Congressional Budget Act of 1974|
|February 15||Congressional Budget Office submits report to Budget Committees||Congressional Budget Act of 1974|
|Not later than 6 weeks after the President submits the budget||Individual House and Senate committees submit views and estimates on the president’s budget to respective Budget Committees||Congressional Budget Act of 1974|
|April 1||Senate Budget Committee reports concurrent resolution on the budget||Congressional Budget Act of 1974|
|April 15||Congress completes the concurrent resolution on the budget||Congressional Budget Act of 1974|
|May 15||Annual appropriation bills may be considered in House even if no budget resolution has been adopted||Congressional Budget Act of 1974|
|June 10||House Appropriations Committee reports final annual appropriations bill||Congressional Budget Act of 1974|
|June 15||Congress finishes reconciliation legislation, if required by the budget resolution||Congressional Budget Act of 1974|
|June 30||House completes work on annual appropriations bills||Congressional Budget Act of 1974|
|October 1||Fiscal year begins||Congressional Budget Act of 1974|
|September 30, 2018||Current appropriations bill expires||Recent congressional legislation
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018
|March 2, 2019||Debt limit reinstated at current level of debt—extraordinary measures to begin||Recent congressional legislation
Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018
|October 1, 2019||Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (relaxing caps on discretionary spending) expires||Recent congressional legislation
Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018