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Does the United States Constitution impose an obligation on Congress to pass a budget?

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A budget is not ordered in the Constitution

There are only three obligations from the Constitution put on Congress: It is mandatory for Congress to assemble once a year, to keep track of their proceedings, and to handle an invocation of the 25th amendment within a specified timeframe.

The Articles prescribes the first Monday in December (I§4), which was later changed to January 3rd (Amdm. XX§2), for the meetings:

Article 1, Section 4 The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.

Amendment XX (1933)

Section 2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3rd day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

Keeping book is mandated in Article I, section 5, Clause 2:

Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same [...]

The 25th Amendment language dictates that Congress must get into session and assemble to deal with the situation:

Amendment XXV (1967) Section 4.

Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

All other mentions of Congress are either a prohibition (Congress shall make no law... - used once), delegations of a power (Congress shall have power to... - used 11 times), or allowances to Congress (Congress may... - used 13 times). A budget is nowhere mentioned in the constitution or the amendments. The closest to having a budget are the taxation clauses, which grant the power to tax, but no obligation to budget with it:

Article 1, Section 8:

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Amendment XVI (1913)

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

That is the allowance to have taxes, not a duty to impose them, or to create a budget from them.

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    This is why they can just keep passing continuing resolutions to appropriate funds, rather than real budgets. Budgets make managing all the departments easier, but there's no requirement that things be easy.
    – Barmar
    Mar 6 at 21:54

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