The Budget Committee’s main purpose “is to develop a concurrent resolution on the budget to serve as the framework for congressional action on spending, revenue, and debt-limit legislation.” It is separate from the Appropriations Committee, which decides where specific revenues should be allocated within that larger budgetary framework. “The Senate Budget Committee is also responsible for the enforcement of this concurrent resolution and associated budget laws,” according to the committee’s information page.
If that all sounds like pretty dusty stuff, it isn’t. Like the Appropriations Committee, the Budget Committee is where the money’s at, and in Washington, D.C., a great deal of congressional power flows through the choices on who and what gets federal revenues.
One of the great powers of the Budget Committee is the use of reconciliation, which, according to the committee, is “a piece of legislation that is written to bring about specific identified fiscal goals. A reconciliation bill, if passed and signed by the president, carries with it the full force of law.” A bill drafted under the rules of reconciliation is immune to the filibuster, and requires only a straight-up majority to pass.
The power of reconciliation is in the hands of Bernie Sanders now, and he has made good use of it. With the Senate tied at 50-50 and Vice President Kamala Harris standing as the tie-breaking vote, passage of President Biden’s most important priorities would have been all but impossible. Thanks to Sanders and his reconciliation tool, Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill is days away from becoming law.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction