Every time the fiscal year ends (Sept. 30th) Congress (House and Senate) have pass 12 bills of legislation confirming or proposing new spending/appropriations for the next fiscal year. Some of these appropriations are multi-year and so do not need to be re-addressed every year, most are annual. Both the House and Senate have committees, which each have 12 subcommittees whose purpose is to authorize spending for programs.
The Origination Clause in the Constitution requires all spending and revenue raising (e.g. taxes) are required to originate in the House. Then it is sent to senate for approval and/or additional proposals. A CONTINUING RESOLUTION can be passed temporarily which allows the same spending schedules until agreements are confirmed. However, if there are any disagreements, the process can last a while.
Annual appropriations are divided into 12 separate pieces of legislation:
- Commerce, Justice, and Science,
- Energy and Water,
- Financial Services,
- Homeland Security,
- Interior and Environment,
- Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education,
- Military and Veterans,
- State and Foreign Operations,
- Transportation and Housing and Urban Development.
Information above was found at Wikipedia search: “appropriations bill”
The senate and house, the latter whom is the closest to the people and both whom are representing us, should reflect our beliefs in their deliberation. The exponentially increasing debt and spending is the issue that Congress is debating when it comes to these appropriations. People just do not agree. Congress is split, along with their constituents (we the people) as to whether or not increasing spending yearly is in our best interest. This makes sense of the slow and annoying process.
The process can be reformed through two methods (possibly more): 1) amendment to the constitution changing the current requirements on spending OR 2) We the People can start interacting more at the level of one-on-one and group dialogues. The former is unnecessary, difficult to obtain, not conducive to restricting the federal powers. The latter option should be our goal. These conversations can lead to more understanding of the “other side’s” point of view, perhaps more persuasion, and ultimately more consensus on issues. Once the voting base is more in agreement, more congressmen will be voted into office who are of the same mind as the people thus making progress on spending more streamlined. This is NOT to say that being a “moderate” is the answer. Finding common ground is important but all sides should seek what is the true and correct answer. A good starting point can be agreeing that 1) truth exists and 2) it can be found.
This slow process should be preferred over someone in the federal government imposing their view on all including dissenters. Slower processes were built into our constitutional republic from the beginning and these processes are the price we should be willing to pay for a more representative government, checks and balances, separation of power, rule of law, and the freedoms and inalienable rights we enjoy.