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H.Con.Res. 125 (114th): Establishing the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2017 and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2018 through 2026.

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Mar 23, 2016.


(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary has been expanded because action occurred on the measure.)

Establishes the congressional budget for the federal government for FY2017 and sets forth budgetary levels for FY2018-FY2026.

TITLE I--RECOMMENDED LEVELS AND AMOUNTS

(Sec. 101) Recommends levels and amounts for FY2017-FY2026 for:

Federal Revenues, New Budget Authority, Budget Outlays, Deficits (On-Budget), Debt Subject to Limit, and Debt Held by the Public. (Sec. 102) Recommends levels of new budget authority and outlays for FY2017-FY2026 for each major functional category, including:

National Defense; International Affairs; General Science, Space, and Technology; Energy; Natural Resources and Environment; Agriculture; Commerce and Housing Credit; Transportation; Community and Regional Development; Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services; Health; Medicare; Income Security; Social Security; Veterans Benefits and Services; Administration of Justice; General Government; Net Interest; Allowances; Government-wide Savings and Adjustments; Undistributed Offsetting Receipts; and Overseas Contingency Operations/ Global War on Terrorism. TITLE II--RECONCILIATION AND RELATED MATTERS

(Sec. 201) States the policy of this resolution that, during the second session of the 114th Congress, the House will consider legislation that:

achieves savings in mandatory spending using the reconciliation process, achieves at least $30 billion in savings in mandatory spending outside of the reconciliation process, controls new mandatory spending, and reforms the federal budget process. (Sec. 202) Includes reconciliation instructions directing 12 House authorizing committees to submit to the House Budget Committee, within 90 days of adoption of this resolution, legislation to reduce the deficit by specified amounts over FY2017-FY2026. (Under the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, reconciliation bills are considered by Congress using expedited legislative procedures that prevent a filibuster and restrict amendments in the Senate.)

Permits the chairman of the House Budget Committee to revise the allocations, aggregates, and functional levels of this budget resolution to reflect the impact of reconciliation legislation.

(Sec. 203) States the policy of this resolution that, early in the second session of the 114th Congress, the House will consider legislation outside of the reconciliation process that achieves mandatory savings of at least $30 billion over FY2017-FY2018 and $140 billion over FY2017-FY2026.

(Sec. 204) States the policy of this resolution that the House will consider a measure to control new mandatory spending.

(Sec. 205) States the policy of this resolution that the House will consider the following federal budget process reforms during the 114th Congress:

a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, a baseline budgeting measure, requirements relating to unauthorized programs, and other budget process reforms recommended by congressional committees. TITLE III--BUDGET ENFORCEMENT

Subtitle A--Budget Enforcement in The House of Representatives

(Sec. 301) Requires the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to estimate whether legislation (other than appropriations measures) would cause a net increase in direct spending in excess of $5 billion over any of the 4 consecutive 10-year periods beginning in FY2026. Establishes a point of order against legislation (other than appropriations measures) with a net effect of increasing direct spending by more than $5 billion in any of the 4 consecutive 10-year periods.

(Sec. 302) Provides the House Appropriations Committee with a separate allocation for Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism and specifies procedures for enforcing and adjusting the allocation. (Sec. 303) Establishes a point of order restricting the inclusion of certain changes in mandatory programs (CHIMPs) in appropriations legislation for FY2017-FY2019. Limits CHIMPs that reduce budget authority in the budget year but do not decrease outlays over the period of the total of the current year, budget year, and all fiscal years covered under the most recently agreed to budget resolution. Limit the CHIMPS to: $19.1 billion for FY2017, $17 billion for FY2018, and $15 billion for FY2019.

(Sec. 304) Requires the Government Accountability Office to submit to the chair of the House Budget Committee a comprehensive list of all current direct spending programs. Requires the chair to publish the list in the Congressional Record and on the committee's website.

(Sec. 305) Permits the chair of the House Budget Committee to direct the CBO to include changes in debt service costs in estimates of legislation except for authorizations of discretionary programs or appropriation measures.

Specifies that: (1) this section applies to changes in the authorization level of appropriated entitlements, and (2) the estimates are advisory and may not be used for budget enforcement.

(Sec. 306) Requires the CBO, upon request of the chairman of the House Budget Committee, to include supplemental fair-value estimates in estimates for legislation establishing or modifying a loan or loan guarantee program.

Requires the CBO to provide a supplemental fair-value estimate for legislation establishing or modifying a loan or loan guarantee program for student financial assistance or housing (including residential mortgage).

Requires the CBO to include estimates, on a fair-value and credit reform basis, of loan and loan guarantee programs for student financial assistance, housing (including residential mortgage), and other major loan and loan guarantee programs in its "Budget and Economic Outlook: 2018 to 2027."

(A fair-value estimate is an alternative to federal credit program estimates required by the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990 [FCRA]. Under FCRA, cash flows are discounted using Treasury interest rates for estimating subsidy costs. The fair-value method incorporates market risk by using market rates.)

(Sec. 307) Requires the CBO to estimate outlay changes during the second and third decades of enactment for any direct spending legislative provision if:

it proposes changes that will have an outlay impact exceeding 0.25% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States during the first decade or in the 10th year, or the chairman of the House Budget Committee requests the estimate. (Sec. 308) Requires the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation to incorporate macroeconomic effects in estimates of specified legislation (commonly referred to as dynamic scoring).

(Sec. 309) Authorizes the chairman of the House Budget Committee to adjust committee allocations and levels in this resolution if legislation decreases direct spending in any fiscal year and authorizes appropriations for the same purpose.

(Sec. 310) Prohibits advanced appropriations unless: (1) the appropriation is provided for an account listed as an exception in the report accompanying this resolution, and (2) total advanced appropriations do not exceed specified limits. (Under this resolution, an advanced appropriation is any new discretionary budget authority provided in appropriations legislation for the fiscal year following FY2017.)

(Sec. 311) Directs the CBO to estimate legislation that affects the use of energy savings performance contracts or utility energy service contracts on a net present value basis (in today's dollars) using calculations that meet specified requirements. Specifies that the contracts are to be scored as direct spending and that savings resulting from the contracts may be not be used as an offset for budget enforcement purposes.

(Under an energy savings performance contract, a private party agrees to fund energy-efficient upgrades for a federal facility, and the federal agency agrees to pay the private party from reductions in the agency's energy costs. Under a utility energy service contract, the services and equipment are provided by a utility.)

(Sec. 312) Requires the CBO to include specified details in its estimates for legislation conveying federal land to a non-federal entity.

(Sec. 313) Requires transfers of funds from the general fund of the Treasury to the Highway Trust Fund to be counted as new budget authority and outlays in the year the transfer occurs.

(Sec. 314) Prohibits increases in Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) guarantee fees from being used for budget enforcement purposes. (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchase mortgages and charge the fees to guarantee the payment of principal and interest. This section prevents the fee increases from being used to offset provisions that increase the deficit in determining whether a budget point of order applies to legislation.)

(Sec. 315) Prohibits transfers of surpluses of the Federal Reserve System from being counted as offsets for budget enforcement purposes. (This section prevents the transfers from being used to offset provisions that increase the deficit in determining whether a budget point of order applies to legislation.)

Subtitle B--Other Provisions

(Sec. 321) Specifies that the administrative expenses of the Social Security Administration and the United States Postal Service are reflected in the allocation to the House Appropriations Committee to ensure that the Committee retains control over the expenses through the annual appropriations process.

Requires the administrative expenses to be included in the cost estimates used to determine if an appropriations bill exceeds the spending limits in this resolution.

(Sec. 322) Sets forth procedures for the adjustment of allocations, aggregates, and other levels included in this resolution.

(Sec. 323) Authorizes the chair of the House Budget Committee to adjust the aggregates, allocations, and other levels in this resolution for any change in budgetary concepts and definitions pursuant to the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.

(Sec. 324) Authorizes the chair of the House Budget Committee to adjust the aggregates, allocations, and other levels in this resolution for any changes that the CBO makes to its baseline in March 2016.

(Sec. 325) Authorizes the chair of the House Budget Committee to adjust the aggregates, allocations, and other levels in this resolution for any legislation that designates an emergency under the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 (PAYGO).

(Sec. 326) Affirms that the adoption of this budget resolution is an exercise of the House's rulemaking power and that the House has the constitutional right to change these rules.

TITLE IV--RESERVE FUNDS IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Establishes reserve funds that permit the chairman of the House Budget Committee to adjust the levels and allocations included in the budget resolution to accommodate health, tax reform, trade, education, retirement, and transportation legislation that meets specified conditions.

(Reserve funds provide the House Budget Committee Chairman with flexibility in applying budget enforcement rules to legislation that meets specified criteria.)

(Sec. 401) Establishes a deficit-neutral reserve fund for legislation that reduces poverty and increases opportunity and upward mobility, without adversely impacting job creation or increasing the deficit over the period of FY2017-FY2026.

(Sec. 402) Establishes a reserve fund for legislation that repeals or modifies the Affordable Care Act and the health care-related provisions of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

(Sec. 403) Establishes a deficit-neutral reserve fund for health care reform legislation that would not increase the deficit over the FY2017-FY2026 period.

(Sec. 404) Establishes a deficit-neutral reserve fund for legislation that reforms, expands access to, and improves graduate medical education programs and would not increase the deficit over the FY2017-FY2026 period.

(Sec. 405) Establishes a deficit-neutral reserve fund for legislation that implements a trade agreement and would not increase the deficit over the FY2017-FY2026 period.

(Sec. 406) Establishes a deficit-neutral reserve fund for legislation that reforms the tax code and would not increase the deficit over the FY2017-FY2026 period.

(Sec. 407) Establishes a deficit-neutral reserve fund for legislation that decreases revenue and would not increase the deficit over the FY2017-FY2026 period.

(Sec. 408) Establishes a deficit-neutral reserve fund for legislation that reforms, improves, and updates the federal retirement system and would not increase the deficit over the period of FY2017-FY2026.

(Sec. 409) Establishes a deficit-neutral reserve fund for legislation that addresses the immediate funding shortfall in coal miner pension and health care funds and would not increase the deficit over the period of FY2017-FY2026.

(Sec. 410) Establishes a reserve fund for legislation that commercializes the air traffic control system and reduces discretionary spending limits by the amount that was appropriated to the Federal Aviation Administration for air traffic control.

TITLE V--ESTIMATES OF DIRECT SPENDING IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

(Sec. 501) Provides estimates for the rate of growth in means-tested and non-means-tested direct spending and proposes changes to Medicaid and Medicare.

TITLE VI--POLICY STATEMENTS IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

(Sec. 601) States the policy of this resolution that committees in the House should consider in the 115th Congress recommendations developed by the Speaker's task forces on health care reform; reducing regulatory burdens; poverty, opportunity, and upward mobility; national security; tax reform; and restoring constitutional authority.

(Sec. 602) States the policy of this resolution that Congress should propose a balanced budget constitutional amendment for ratification by the states.

(Sec. 603) States the policy of this resolution that Congress should restructure its procedures for making budgetary decisions and reassert its power over spending and revenue by promoting spending control, efficient and timely action, and greater transparency.

(Sec. 604) States the policy of this resolution to promote faster economic growth and job creation through policies such as fundamental tax reform.

(Sec. 605) States that the policy of this resolution on federal regulatory budgeting and reform is to:

promote economic growth, protect the poor and working class, increase oversight and transparency, reduce regulatory barriers to entry into markets, and reduce unfunded mandates and conflicts with state and local regulations. (Sec. 606) States the policy of this resolution that Congress should enact legislation that provides comprehensive tax reform to promote economic growth, create jobs, increase wages; and benefit consumers, investors, and workers.

(Sec. 607) States that the policy of this resolution on trade is:

to pursue international trade, global commerce, and a modern and competitive tax system to promote domestic job creation; the United States should continue to seek increased economic opportunities for American workers and businesses through high-standard trade agreements that satisfy negotiating objectives, including the expansion of trade opportunities, adherence to trade agreements and rules, and eliminating trade barriers; and any trade agreement should reflect the negotiating objectives and adhere to provisions requiring improved consultation with Congress. (Sec. 608) States that the policy of this resolution on Social Security is to:

work on a bipartisan basis to make Social Security sustainably solvent, reform the Disability Insurance program prior to its projected insolvency in 2022, and improve the solvency of the Disability Insurance Trust Fund while also improving the long-term solvency of the combined Old Age and Survivors Disability Insurance Trust Fund. (Sec. 609) States the policy of this resolution to repeal the Affordable Care Act and promote health care reforms to enhance affordability, accessibility, quality, innovation, choices, and responsiveness in coverage for all Americans.

(Sec. 610) States the policy of this resolution to save Medicare for those in or near retirement and strengthen the program for future beneficiaries. Sets forth the assumptions of this resolution regarding Medicare reform.

(Sec. 611) States the policy of this resolution to support the work of medical innovators through: (1) continued strong funding for the agencies that engage in lifesaving research, and (2) removing obstacles that impede the adoption of medical technologies.

(Sec. 612) States the policy of this resolution that the House should, within available budgetary resources, provide continued support for research, prevention, and public health preparedness programs to ensure the nation's ability to respond efficiently and effectively to potential public health threats.

(Sec. 613) States the policy of this resolution that: (1) combating opioid abuse, using available budgetary resources, is a high priority, and (2) Congress, in a bipartisan manner, should examine the federal response to the opioid abuse crisis and support essential activities, including rehabilitation, to reduce and prevent substance abuse.

(Sec. 614) States the policies of this resolution for addressing higher education affordability and workforce development.

(Sec. 615) States the policy of this resolution to support the continued oversight efforts of the Department of Veterans Affairs by Congress and its committees.

(Sec. 616) States the policy of this resolution that Congress should adopt reforms of budget and accounting practices to enable the public to better understand the fiscal situation of the United States and the options best suited to improving it.

(Sec. 617) States the policy of this resolution that congressional committees and federal agencies should work to reduce unnecessary and wasteful spending such as duplicative programs, improper payments, and inappropriate expenditures.

(Sec. 618) States the policy of this resolution on reducing the deficit by cancelling unobligated balances of funds that are no longer needed.

(Sec. 619) States the policy of this resolution to identify savings that can be achieved through greater productivity and efficiency gains in the operation and maintenance of the House of Representatives.

(Sec. 620) States the policy of this resolution that Congress must: (1) reassert its constitutional prerogative to control spending and conduct oversight; and (2) subject all agency fees received from the public to annual appropriations or authorization legislation, except fees that are for business-like activities or necessary to fund current operations.

(Sec. 621) States the policy of this resolution that Congress should enact legislation to improve border security by utilizing technology along the southern and northern borders, constructing fencing along southern border, and increasing border personnel.

(Sec. 622) States the policy of this resolution to support policies that prevent the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and the transfer or release of detainees.

(Sec. 623) States the policy of this resolution that the United States should: (1) suspend admission of refugees from such high-risk areas as Syria and Iraq until it can ensure that terrorists cannot exploit its refugee resettlement programs and vetting processes, and (2) make protecting Americans its highest priority before resettling additional refugees.

(Sec. 624) States the policy of this resolution that all receipts and disbursements of the U.S. Postal Service should be included in the congressional budget and the budget of the government.

(Sec. 625) States the policy of this resolution that the House should enforce this resolution by:

adopting the budget resolution before considering tax or spending legislation, assessing measures for compliance with budget rules, passing legislation to strengthen enforcement of the budget resolution, complying with discretionary spending limits, preventing the use of accounting gimmicks to offset higher spending, modifying scoring rules to encourage the commercialization of government activities that can best be provided by the private sector, and discouraging the use of savings identified in the budget resolution as offsets for spending or tax legislation. (Sec. 626) States the policy of this resolution that rules relating to unauthorized appropriations should be reviewed and reformed to ensure that unauthorized programs are either reauthorized, reformed, or terminated.