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Budget Reconciliation

A procedure used by the U.S. Congress to amend federal revenues and expenditures more easily than possible under normal order. Most notably, the process allows the U.S. Senate to pass qualifying legislation without needing 60 votes to invoke cloture, thereby needing only a majority vote (51) to avoid the threat of an indefinite filibuster.

Both chambers of Congress must first pass a concurrent budget reconciliation resolution that outlines the budget parameters for forthcoming reconciliation legislation. Once Congress passes the concurrent resolution, which does not need Presidential signature, the chambers can begin work on legislation that fits within the rules of the budget reconciliation process and the parameters set forth in the concurrent resolution. The final legislation requires a Presidential vote.

Restrictions on Reconciliation

In general, budget reconciliation is limited to legislation that impacts the revenues and outlays of the federal government, including changes to tax law, spending, and the debt limit. The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 largely governs the rules of the process. The “Byrd Rule” was introduced in 1985 as a further means of limiting what legislation can be passed via reconciliation.

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Temporary Period

The period of time (often set forth in the tax certificate), during which a particular category of proceeds may be invested in higher yielding investments without the issue being treated as arbitrage bonds under Section 148 of the Code.