Failure of Appropriations Process Led to Shutdown

At a press conference held by Senate Democrats on October 2, Majority Leader Harry Reid asked reporters, "What right did they [Members of the House of Representatives] have to pick and choose what part of government is going to be funded?" The answer is found in the Constitution and its traditional implementation. Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution states that "No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law." Though the President submits a budget to Congress, and the Congress is supposed to adopt a budget resolution setting aggregate limits, the appropriations process is not designed to legislate the budget as a single block of funds. The Congressional budget resolution breaks spending down to some 20 functional areas which are then dealt with in 12 bills prepared by subcommittees of the House and Senate appropriations committees. Traditionally, the House has initiated consideration of regular appropriations measures, with the...(Read Full Article)