A Congressional Budget Resolution is a “blueprint” that guides fiscal decision-making in the Congress. It is passed by the House and the Senate, and it establishes the top-line levels for the budget by setting targets for revenues and upper limits for subsequent spending bills1 over a specific period or budget window.

Although it is not presented to the president for signature (and hence is not a law), it is a critically important document because it sets the terms of the budget debate. It defines the Congress’ goals for federal spending, revenues, deficits and debt, and allocates budgetary resources among the major functions of government (such as national defense, transportation, health, veterans’ benefits, general government and income security). It also can provide a vehicle for making changes to mandatory programs and revenues through a process known as reconciliation.


1 The main exception is that budget resolutions cannot be used for making changes to Social Security.

Budget Terms

Budget Window

More about other budget terms, rules, and processes:

National Debt Clock

See the latest numbers and learn more about the causes of our high and rising debt.

FISCAL ISSUES ILLUSTRATED

This series of infographics helps put some of today's most pressing fiscal debates in context.