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Who is minding the store: Congress or the President?
The ultimate authority over the US budget: The ‘Power of the Purse’ is designated as a function of congress; the House of Representatives, in accordance with the U.S constitution. This power constitutes the authority to create taxes and ensure their collection and to borrow money if and when it is needed. According to laws passed by congress, it is the role of congress to create the country’s budget annually, through the annual congressional budget process. Congress appropriates bills and authorizes those bills, which means it specifies the amount of money to go into different government programs and agencies and further passes legislation to give legal authority before the federal government can spend the money.
Federal budget stalemates: These stalemates are mainly as a result of a divided government, for instance in the case of the state of Florida where legislators are not in agreement over health care. The deadlock is in part, over the question of whether to accept federal money to expand Medicaid Insurance to the low-income pool under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The House republican does not want to expand Medicaid but would rather have the federal government give approximately $1 billion annually to hospitals that cater to the low-income pool. Despite all the cons of a federal budget stalemate, a possible government shutdown as a result of the deadlock helps to shed light on the parts and functions of government that are either essential or non-essential.
Sequestration – January 2013: In 2011the U.S had political debates in Congress over the country’s debt-ceiling; which refers to the legislative national debt limit to be adhered to by the U.S Treasury, capping government spending relative to its borrowing and deficit levels. At the time, one third of the U.S government’s spending was borrowed and without fiscal reforms, the debt was bound to climb sharply in the decades to follow. It was then necessary for the country to automatically cut spending across discretionary programs in order to save approximately $1 trillion over a decade (2012 to 2021). The budget sequestration in 2013 was in response to the Budget Control Act of 2011 which recommended the austerity fiscal policy aimed at addressing the federal budget deficit by reducing it.