Budget Enforcement Act of 1990

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The Budget Enforcement Act of 1990 (Pub.L. 101–508, title XIII; 104 Stat. 1388-573; codified as amended at scattered sections of 2 U.S.C. & 15 U.S.C. § 1022) was enacted by the United States Congress as title XIII of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 to enforce the deficit reduction accomplished by that law and revise the budget control process of the Federal Government. The Act created two new budget control processes: a set of caps on annually-appropriated spending, and a "pay-as-you-go" or "PAYGO" process for entitlements and taxes. The law departed from the fixed deficit targets of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Balanced Budget Act and imposed no penalty if the deficit for a given year grew outside the Office of Management and Budget "Snapshot" or deficit estimate, provided this budget growth was out of Congress' control.

From the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990:[1]

Title XIII: Budget Enforcement - Budget Enforcement Act of 1990 - Subtitle A: Amendments to the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 and Related Amendments - Part I: Amendments to the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 - Amends the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act) to provide for the enforcement of the deficit reduction assumed in House Concurrent Resolution 310 (101st Congress) and the deficit targets for FY 1991 through 1995. Requires enforcement to be implemented through sequestration applied in the following order: (1) discretionary spending levels assumed in such resolution; (2) the requirement that legislation increasing spending or decreasing revenues be on a pay-as-you-go basis; and (3) the deficit targets specially set forth in the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974.

Authorizes the President to invoke sequestration within 15 calendar days after the Congress ends a session to eliminate a budget-year breach within any category. Establishes a procedure for within-session sequestration. Sets forth the methods of adjusting discretionary spending limits.

Sets forth sequestration procedures to enforce pay-as-you-go requirements and deficit targets.

Rescinds the FY 1991 sequester and restores the sequestered amounts.

Revises the timetable for sequestration reports and orders.

Suspends sequestration procedures in the event of war or low growth.

The act has since been extended several times, most recently with the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. It expired in 2002, but the Democratic Majority adopted some of its principles, known as PAYGO, or Pay-As-You-Go, in their rules during the 110th Congress. This was passed as H. RES. 6[2] on January 4, 2007.[3] Barack Obama enshrined some of these principles into law when he signed the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 on February 12, 2010. Like the BEA, this law brought back the requirement that the Administration send up a Constitutionally valid sequester order to Congress if Congress increases mandatory spending or decreases taxes in a way that, on net, increases the deficit. However, like the 2007 House rule, this law lacked in Gramm-Rudman's discretionary spending caps and so was considerably less powerful as a check on appropriated discretionary spending.[4]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ http://assembler.law.cornell.edu/usc-cgi/get_external.cgi?type=pubL&target=101-508 Public Law No: 101-508 CRS Summary
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-10-28. Retrieved 2010-12-31.  110th Congress 1st Session H. RES. 6 Adopting the Rules of the House of Representatives for the One Hundred Tenth Congress.
  3. ^ House Adopts Pay-as-You-Go Rules - washingtonpost.com
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-08-04. Retrieved 2010-08-28.