NPGA Bobtail

Authorizing vs Budget Reconciliation Bills

For a typical authorizing bill to become law, identical pieces of legislation must pass the House of Representatives and Senate. The House has 435 Members and requires a simple majority vote, which means at least 218 Members need to vote in favor of the legislation. The Senate, consisting of 100 Members, generally requires 60 favorable votes to pass a bill. Once both chambers of Congress pass a bill, it heads to the President’s desk for a signature.

When one political party has control of the House and Senate, Congress can use a parliamentary procedure known as budget reconciliation to pass legislation. This process only requires a simple majority vote in the Senate. However, budget reconciliation legislation is limited to tax, debt limit, or spending provisions.