Concept_Budget

Congress Has Never Failed to Propose a Budget

There has never been a year where at least one of the two congressional Budget Committees have not proposed a budget.

Since the modern budget process started in 1976, there has only been one year when neither chamber approved a budget: 2010, during consideration of the budget for Fiscal Year 2011. In that year, neither the House nor Senate approved a budget resolution. But even in 2010, several budget resolutions were voted down in the Senate, and the Senate Budget Committee had proposed a budget.

The deadline for Congress to complete action on a budget is April 15, and Congress has only hit that mark four times (plus an additional two times when the deadline was May 15 before 1986).

More often, Congress has treated the budget deadline as a deadline for one chamber or the other to pass a budget. Out of the 43 years between FY 1976 and 2018, the House has failed to vote on a budget by the deadline 13 times and the Senate 18 times.

Metric Number of Years Since 1976
Years Congress Has Met Its Budget Deadline 6*
Times the House Has Failed to Pass a Budget by Deadline 13
Times the Senate Has Failed to Pass a Budget by Deadline 18
Years Without a House Budget 1
Years Without a Senate Budget 5
Years Without a Concurrent Budget Resolution 9
Years Neither Chamber Approved a Budget 1
Years Neither Budget Committee Approved a Budget 0
Years Neither Chamber Voted On a Budget 0

Source: Based on tables from the Congressional Research Service. (alternate link) Based on the fiscal years for which the budget was being done, not the year of the vote. *The deadline to complete action on the budget resolution is currently April 15, but it was May 15 prior to 1986.

We have previously called on Congress to complete a budget this year, asking every Member of Congress to either support a budget or put forth their own plan for fiscal sustainability.