It’s that time of year again – daffodils, pollen and, you guessed it, federal budgets. Three proposals were released this week, one from the House, one from the Senate and one from the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Not surprisingly, they all have very, very, VERY different perspectives. You can view the hundreds of pages of details at the following sites:
Rep. Ryan (House Republican Leadership) http://budget.house.gov/
Sen. Murray (Senate Democratic Leadership) http://budget.senate.gov/democratic/index.cfm/senatebudget
Congressional Progressive Caucus: http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/back-to-work-budget/
Before you get too into the specifics (including the hyperbole of the specifics), take a look at this past blog post on “The Five Things Advocates Need to Know About the Budget Process (http://advocacyassociates.blogspot.com/2012/02/five-things-advocates-need-to-know.html). These include:
- Understanding the overall picture of the Federal government. Here’s a pet peeve: polls suggest that most Americans believe reducing or eliminating foreign aid will go a long way toward solving our budget problems. In truth, they make up about ½ of 1%. We can shake the couch cushions in DC and get more cash than that.
- Learning about the difference between the Presidential budget process and the Congressional budget process
- Knowing the difference between “budgets,” “authorizations” and “appropriations.
- Understanding discretionary vs. non-discretionary spending
- Finally, and most important, how to make a difference on the issues that matter to you
It’s easy to get mired in the details – but frankly, it’s not always the best use of everyone’s time. If you can focus on what really matters you’ll be much less frustrated – and will be able to enjoy the coming Spring more. Except for the pollen part.