Congress is operating under continuing resolutions – means no budget trade-offs Ryan 11 (Paul, congressmen from Wisconsin, 2/3/11, http://budget.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=223391`) JPG
The filing of this allocation is necessary because the previous Democratic Congress failed to produce, or even propose, a budget for this year. At present, Congress is operating without a budget. No budget, no priorities, no restraints. In addition, not one appropriations bill was enacted last year. As a result, the government is operating under a stopgap measure, known as a continuing resolution, through March 4, 2011. Because five months of the fiscal year will have passed by March 4, 2011, Congress has an increasingly shorter window of time to achieve savings in this fiscal year. House Democrats unfortunately rejected House Republicans’ repeated calls to cut spending last year.
Operating under continuing resolutions means no spending caps – programs wont trade off Pollom 11 (Jennifer, Chief of Staff @ e21, previously the Appropriations and Budget Counsel for the Senate Republican Policy Committee, 2/4/11, http://economics21.org/blog/strong-fiscal-leadership-paul-ryan) JPG
The new limits (the 302(a) allocation in budget-speak) set the overall spending cap for all discretionary spending for the year and will go into effect after the current Continuing Resolution expires on March 4, 2011. This unusual step is necessary this year because the previous Congress failed to pass (or even produce) a budget for FY2011. As a result, Congress is currently operating without a budget, and without spending caps. Chairman Ryan set the 2011 allocation at $1,055 billion, a spending level that would reduce the non-security discretionary spending to 2008 pre-stimulus levels and would save $74 billion relative to the President’s 2011 budget request. Within the larger 302(a) allocation, non-security discretionary spending is assumed to be $420 billion (a savings of $58 billion) and security spending is assumed to be $635 billion (an increase over 2010 levels, but a decrease of $16 billion from the President’s request).
CRs guarantee increases where needed Riedl 5 (Brian, Grover M. Hermann fellow in federal budgetary affairs @ Heritage, 1/25/5, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2005/01/whats-wrong-with-the-federal-budget-process) JPG
Even the best efforts to simplify the budget process and foster cooperation cannot guarantee that a budget will be completed by the annual October 1 deadline. Failure to complete the budget by this deadline risks paralysis in the federal government because it leaves many agencies unable to spend money.Congress has missed the October 1 deadline in 26 of the past 27 years, resulting in a series of continuing resolutions (CRs) to fund the federal government in the interim. Contentious debate regarding the composition of the CRs creates regular uncertainty among both providers and recipients of federal services. This insecurity could be assuaged by a law that guaranteed continued funding at the prior year's rate to agencies without a budget for the new fiscal year. Some in Congress may oppose using the prior year's budget: Many fiscal liberals would support automatic increases, such as cost of living adjustments, and many fiscal conservatives would support automatic reductions for one-time expenses or even an entirely different budgetary formula. Simplicity, however, makes the prior year's funding level the most practical option. Budgeters who dislike that formula would have an added incentive to forge a new budget agreement more quickly.
No Link – Emergency Spending
Plan doesn’t trade-off – emergency spending isn’t restricted to budget caps Struble and Kahn 99 (Wayne – congressional staff director and Thomas – Minority Congressional staff director, 5/20/99, http://bulk.resource.org/gpo.gov/hearings/106h/56869.txt) JPG
The other part of this that I wanted to just bring up before I turn it over to my colleagues is emergency spending. One of the biggest areas of heartburn over the last 4 or 5 years in particular has been emergencies and our supplemental appropriations. What we tried to do here is we tried to put more orderly process into that as well, starting with budgeting for emergencies. On a 5-year rolling average, according to recommendations by our FEMA Director, James Lee Witt, who has had an opportunity to research this and give us his impression, he suggested a 5-year rolling average for emergencies, except for, of course, situations, as we find ourselves in, where we are at war. But most of the other emergencies that we have been able to deal with, we could put in a 5-year rolling average and actually budget for that as part of the budget process. Then, as long as you stayed within that rainy day fund, if you will, the appropriators would have not much more to do with the Budget Committee except every time there was an emergency, it would have to meet the definition, which is a definition we took from the Senate definition of emergencies as well as one submitted by the administration for emergencies. We suggested that was a good definition and we worked out that as long as it stayed within that rainy day fund, there would be very little more discussion other than the bill would come to the floor for passage. If it goes over that, if the amount is more than the reserve total, then the Budget Committee would have to come in and amend or exempt the emergency from PAYGO and would have to exempt the emergency spending from the allocations and the aggregates under the caps. After that, of course, it would follow the same process. Let me just comment on a couple of things that Mr. Spratt said on his different concerns, because I think there are a couple of them that are--first of all, I appreciate the tenor of his remarks. We have been able to keep this out of any kind of partisan discussion, and I respect his concerns about the process. First, on the caps and what that would do to CBO projections, we purposefully in here decided not to set caps, again because that is a substantive decision: where the caps are, where they go; higher, lower. Wherever they might eventually arrive is something that Congress and the President need to work out prior to 2002 and arguably needs to be part of the first joint resolution as part of our new budget process. So as a result, what did we do as a result of not having those caps? We told CBO that one of the ways to apply pressure to the budget process is say that if there are no caps, we assume everything is just flat. What does that do? Of course, nobody is going to allow flat spending. As much as the Republicans like to talk about being the ones that like smaller government and smaller spending, we would probably rush in too and talk about the need for increasing spending. In my area, probably in agriculture, everybody has got an area that they are concerned about for increased spending or increased priority. So I have no doubt that this will help provide pressure as opposed to, as has been suggested, assuming that the amount of money left over would immediately go to either pay down the debt or go to tax cuts.
Plan is emergency spending – not limited to spending caps Riedl 5 (Brian, Grover M. Hermann fellow in federal budgetary affairs @ Heritage, 1/25/5, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2005/01/whats-wrong-with-the-federal-budget-process) JPG
Discretionary caps lacked real enforcement.Caps become unrealistic when Congress decides that the spending reductions they require are too politically dangerous. Such situations expose a second weakness of past spending caps-how easily they can be ignored. These multi-year constraints are supposed to provide a check on the whim of the short-term congressional majority. Therefore, one would expect that they would be enforced with additional hurdles that Congress must clear before bypassing them. Yet, rather than raising the bar from a majority vote to a supermajority to bypass caps, the rules now only require Congress to designate additional spending as "emergency" spending before passing it with a simple majority. The emergency designation was intended for use only when unforeseen disasters and catastrophes required additional spending. However, the loophole invited abuse by making it easy for legislators to bypass spending caps without a supermajority vote.In the 2000 budget, Congress designated $44 billion of mostly ordinary spending as "emergency" to bypass the outdated cap levels. Congress actually used the emergency designation properly in the 2001 and 2002 budgets by limiting it to the $20 billion appropriated each year for legitimate 9/11-related emergency spending. Legislators did not actually obey the caps those years: They simply used a different loophole-raising the spending caps by $96 billion in the 2001 budget and then by $135 billion in the 2002 budget-to accommodate all extra spending demands.