Budget Enforcement

Several enforcement tools are available to Congress to enforce not only budget levels, but also to regulate the budget-related content of legislation.  Many of these enforcement tools are only available once a budget resolution is passed; others are part of House rules. These rules can be enforced through points of order during consideration of legislation. Below are some examples:

Limitation on Committee Spending:

This is triggered when legislation exceeds the committee of jurisdiction’s allocation of budgetary resources—also known as 302(a) or 302(b)—that is provided for in a budget resolution.  [Budget Act sec. 302(f)]

Prohibition of Budget Effects for Years not Covered by a Budget:

This is triggered when a bill increases budgetary resources or decreases revenue in the 1st year for which there is not a budget resolution. [Budget Act sec. 303]

Ceiling on Total Spending/Floor on Revenue:

Prevents legislation from causing the total spending or revenue in a budget resolution from being breached. [Budget Act section 311]

Limitation on Long-Term Spending:

This is triggered for any measure that increases direct spending by $5 billion or more within any of the four decade periods following the last year of the budget window (currently 2026). [H.Con.Res. 125 sec. 301]

Limit on certain Changes to Mandatory Programs (CHIMPs):

This sets a limit on certain CHIMPs savings that can be credited to appropriations acts. [H.Con.Res. 125 sec. 303]

Limit on Advance Appropriations:

This is triggered for any appropriations bill that provides appropriations for the year following the budget year. [H.Con.Res. 125 section 310]

House Rule XXI:

This rule prevents several process-related items from occurring.  For example, it prevents legislating or authorizing in appropriations acts. Similarly, it prevents appropriating in authorization bills.  It also prevents amendments to appropriations acts from increasing budget authority or outlays.

House CUTGO Rule:

This rule prohibits a net increase in direct spending from being included in an authorizing bill.  In other words, it requires bills to be spending neutral.

[House Rule XXI, Clause 10.]