Deeming Resolutions: Budget Enforcement in the Absence of a Budget Resolution




Deeming Resolutions: Budget Enforcement in
the Absence of a Budget Resolution

Updated April 21, 2021
Congressional Research Service
https://crsreports.congress.gov
R44296




Deeming Resolutions: Budget Enforcement in the Absence of a Budget Resolution

Summary
The budget resolution reflects an agreement between the House and Senate on a budgetary plan
for the upcoming fiscal year. Once agreed to by both chambers in the exact same form, the budget
resolution creates parameters that may be enforced by (1) points of order and (2) using the budget
reconciliation process.
When the House and Senate do not reach final agreement on this plan, it may be more difficult
for Congress to reach agreement on subsequent budgetary legislation, both within each chamber
and between the chambers.
In the absence of agreement on a budget resolution, Congress may employ alternative legislative
tools to serve as a substitute for a budget resolution. These substitutes are typical y referred to as
“deeming resolutions,” because they are deemed to serve in place of an annual budget resolution
for the purposes of establishing enforceable budget levels for the upcoming fiscal year.
Since the creation of the budget resolution, there have been 11 years in which Congress did not
come to agreement on a budget resolution. In each of those years, one or both chambers
employed at least one deeming resolution to serve as a substitute for a budget resolution.
While referred to as deeming resolutions, such mechanisms are not formal y defined and have no
specifical y prescribed content. Instead, they represent the House and Senate, often separately,
engaging legislative procedures to deal with enforcement issues on an ad hoc basis. As described
below, the mechanisms can vary significantly in content and timing. This report covers the use of
deeming resolutions pertaining to fiscal years for which the House and Senate did not agree on a
budget resolution.

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Contents
What Is the Budget Resolution and How Is It Enforced? ....................................................... 1
What Complications Arise When the House and Senate Do Not Reach Agreement on a
Budget Resolution? ...................................................................................................... 3
What Can Be Used for Budget Enforcement in the Absence of a Budget Resolution? ................ 4
In Which Years Did Congress Rely on Deeming Resolutions in the Absence of

Agreement on a Budget Resolution?................................................................................ 4
In What Ways Have Deeming Resolutions Varied? ............................................................... 7
What Types of Budgetary Enforcement Exist Outside of the Budget Resolution? .................... 17
Budget Enforcement Through Points of Order.............................................................. 17
Budget Enforcement Through Statutory Means ............................................................ 18

Tables
Table 1. Dates of Final Adoption of Budget Resolutions: FY1976-FY2020 .............................. 5
Table 2. Deeming Resolutions Pertaining to Those Fiscal Years for Which Congress Did
Not Agree on a Budget Resolution .................................................................................. 6
Table 3. Provisions Included in Deeming Resolutions Pertaining to Those Fiscal Years for
Which Congress Did Not Agree on a Budget Resolution .................................................. 11

Contacts
Author Information ....................................................................................................... 19
Acknowledgments......................................................................................................... 19

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Deeming Resolutions: Budget Enforcement in the Absence of a Budget Resolution

What Is the Budget Resolution and How Is It
Enforced?
The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (hereinafter referred to as the Budget Act) created the
budget resolution and specifies that it be adopted annually.1 The budget resolution reflects an
agreement between the House and Senate on spending and revenue levels.
The budget resolution does not become law; therefore no money is spent or collected as a result
of its adoption. Instead, it is meant to assist Congress in considering an overal budget plan. Once
agreed to by both chambers in the exact same form, the budget resolution creates parameters that
may be enforced in two primary ways: (1) by points of order, and (2) by using the budget
reconciliation process.
Enforcement Through Points of Order
Once the budget resolution has been agreed to by both chambers, certain levels contained in it are
enforceable through points of order. This means that if legislation is being considered on the
House or Senate floor that would violate certain levels contained in the budget resolution, a
Member may raise a point of order against the consideration of that legislation. Points of order
can be raised against bil s, resolutions, amendments, or conference reports. If such a point of
order is raised against legislation for violating levels in the budget resolution, the presiding
officer makes a ruling on the point of order based on estimates provided by the relevant Budget
Committee.2
Points of order are not self-enforcing, meaning that if no Member raises a point of order, a
chamber may consider and pass legislation that would violate levels established in the budget
resolution. In addition, either chamber may waive the point of order. The process for waiving
points of order, and the number of Members required to waive points of order, varies by chamber.
General y, such points of order can be waived in the House by a simple majority of Members3 and
in the Senate by three-fifths of al Senators.4
The Budget Act requires that the budget resolution include the following budgetary levels for the
upcoming fiscal year and at least four out years: total spending, total revenues, the surplus/deficit,
new spending for each major functional category, the public debt, and (in the Senate only) Social

1 T itles I-IX of P.L. 93-344, as amended; 2 U.S.C. 601-688.
2 §312 of the Budget Act. While the Budget Act states that estimates used for determining points of order are to be
provided by the Budget Committees, typically, those estimates are provided by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
and the Joint Committee on T axation (JCT ).
3 In the House, most measures are considered in one of two ways, both of which routinely waive points of order. First, a
measure may be considered under terms specified in a resolution (referred to as a special rule) reported from the Ho use
Rules Committee. Such resolutions often include language waiving points of order against the underlying legislation as
well as certain specified amendments. A special rule requires for adoption a simple majority of those voting, assuming
a quorum is present. T he second common way that measures are considered in the House is under the suspension of the
rules procedure. When measures are considered under this procedure, such po ints of order are automatically waived.
Measures considered under this procedure require for passage a two-thirds vote of those voting, assuming a quorum is
present .
4 In the Senate, such points of order can be waived with the support of three-fifths of Senators duly chosen and sworn.
In such a situation, a Senator may make a motion to waive the point of order either after one has been raised or before it
has been raised (in anticipation of the point of order). T he waiver motion may apply to one or more points of order, as
specified by the Senator making the motion.
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Security spending and revenue levels. The Budget Act also requires that the aggregate amounts of
spending recommended in the budget resolution be al ocated among committees.5 The Budget Act
provides that the House and Senate Appropriations Committees receive an al ocation for only the
upcoming fiscal year (referred to as the budget year), but the remaining House and Senate
committees receive al ocations for the entire period covered by the budget resolution. The Budget
Act requires that the House and Senate Appropriations Committees subdivide their al ocations by
subcommittee and report these sub-al ocations to their respective chambers.
While the Budget Act requires that the budget resolutions include the levels described above, it
does not require that al of these levels be enforceable by points of order. (Some levels in the
budget resolution are, therefore, included only for informational purposes.)
Budgetary levels that are enforceable include spending and revenue aggregates and committee
spending al ocations. The Budget Act prohibits the consideration of (1) any measure that would
cause spending to exceed levels in the budget resolution,6 or (2) any measure that would cause
total revenue levels to fal below the levels in the budget resolution.7 Likewise, the Budget Act
prohibits the consideration of legislation that would violate the committee spending al ocations.8
(Similarly, once the Appropriations Committees report their sub-al ocations to their respective
chambers, the Budget Act bars the consideration of any spending measures that would cause
those sub-al ocations to be violated.)
Enforcement Through the Budget Reconciliation Process
While points of order can be effective in enforcing the budgetary goals outlined in the budget
resolution, they can be raised against legislation only when it is pending on the House or Senate
floor. This can be effective for legislation such as appropriations measures, which typical y
provide funding for one year and are therefore considered on the House and Senate floor
annual y. Points of order cannot, however, limit direct spending or revenue levels resulting from
current law.
Often, for the budgetary levels in the budget resolution to be achieved, Congress must pass
legislation to alter the levels of revenue and/or direct spending resulting from existing law. In this
situation, Congress seeks to reconcile the levels of direct spending and revenue resulting from
existing law with those budgetary levels expressed in the budget resolution. To assist in this
process, the budget reconciliation process al ows special consideration of legislation that would
accomplish those budgetary levels expressed in the budget resolution.
If Congress intends to use the reconciliation process, reconciliation directives (also referred to as
reconciliation instructions) must be included in the annual budget resolution. These directives
instruct individual committees to develop and report legislation that would change laws within

5 T hese committee spending allocations are required to be included in the joint explanatory statement accompanying
the conference report on the budget resolution. T he report accompanying the budget resolution is also required to
include other components (§301(e)(2) of the Budget Act).
6 Specifically, in the Senate the Budget Act prohibits consideration of legislation that would cause new budget authority
or outlays for the first fiscal year in the budget resolution to be exceeded. In the House, the Budget Act prohibits
consideration of legislation that would cause new budget authority or outlays for the first fiscal year in the budget
resolution to be exceeded. (§§311(a)(2) and 311(a)(1)).
7 Specifically, the Budget Act prohibits consideration in the House and the Senate of legislation that would cause
revenues to fall below the levels set forth in the budget resolution for the first fiscal year or for the total of all fiscal
years covered in the budget resolution (§§311(a)(1) and 311(a)(2)).
8 §302(f) of the Budget Act.
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their respective jurisdictions related to direct spending, revenue, or the debt limit. Once a
specified committee develops legislation, the reconciliation directive may direct it to report the
legislation for consideration in its chamber or submit it to the Budget Committee to be included in
an omnibus reconciliation measure. Such reconciliation legislation is then eligible to be
considered under special expedited procedures in both the House and Senate.9
What Complications Arise When the House and
Senate Do Not Reach Agreement on a Budget
Resolution?
The budget resolution reflects an agreement between the House and Senate on a budgetary plan
for the upcoming fiscal year. When the House and Senate do not reach final agreement on this
plan, the budget process for the upcoming fiscal year may become complicated. Without an
agreement on budgetary parameters, it may be more difficult for Congress to reach agreement on
subsequent budgetary legislation, both within each chamber and between the chambers.
If Congress agreed upon a budget resolution for the prior fiscal year, that resolution remains in
effect and may provide some operative parameters, since a resolution includes multi-year
enforceable levels.10 The usefulness of such levels may be limited, however, due to altered
economic conditions and technical factors, not to mention any changes in congressional
budgetary goals.
Since a committee al ocation to the Appropriations Committee is made for only the upcoming
fiscal year, the House and Senate cannot rely on a prior year’s budget resolution. This means that
there is no al ocation of spending made to the Appropriations Committees and no formal basis for
them to make the required spending sub-al ocations.11 Without such enforceable budgetary levels,
the development and consideration of individual appropriations measures may encounter
difficulties.
Without agreement on a budget resolution, Congress also may not use the budget reconciliation
process. This means that any budgetary changes to revenue or mandatory spending may not be
considered under the special expedited procedures provided by the budget reconciliation process.
The Budget Act sought to require adoption of a budget resolution before Congress could consider
budgetary legislation for the upcoming year. Under Section 303(a) of the Budget Act, the House
and Senate general y may not consider spending, revenue, or debt limit legislation for a fiscal
year until the budget resolution for that fiscal year has been adopted. The Budget Act provides for
exceptions, however, and in addition al ows the point of order to be waived in both chambers by a
simple majority.

9 For more information on the budget reconciliation process, see CRS Report R44058, The Budget Reconciliation
Process: Stages of Consideration
, by Megan S. Lynch and James V. Saturno .
10 In the event that a new Congress has begun, the prior year’s budget resolution is still in effect in the Senate but not in
the House. T he House, however, often renews a prior year’s budget resolution (or deeming resolution) as part of the
opening-days rules package. See for example, Section 3(p) of H.Res. 8 (117th Congress).
11 Section 302(a)(5) of the Budget Act authorizes the chairman of the House Budget Committee to issue a provisional
spending allocation to the House Appropriations Committee consistent with the most recently agreed to budget
resolution, although the House has often used deeming resolutions (described below) so that consideration of regular
appropriations acts can proceed under more updated spending allocations.
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What Can Be Used for Budget Enforcement in the
Absence of a Budget Resolution?
In the absence of a budget resolution, other budget enforcement mechanisms are available to
Congress comprising two general categories. First, there are types of budget enforcement that are
entirely separate from the budget resolution, such as chamber rules and statutory spending caps.
These mechanisms remain in effect in the absence of a budget resolution and place restrictions on
certain types of budgetary legislation. Such enforcement is briefly described below in the section
titled “What Types of Budgetary Enforcement Exist Outside of the Budget Resolution?”
Second, in the absence of agreement on a budget resolution, Congress may employ alternative
legislative tools to serve as a substitute for a budget resolution. When Congress has been late in
reaching final agreement on a budget resolution, or has not reached agreement at al , it has relied
on such substitutes. These substitutes are typical y referred to as “deeming resolutions,” because
they are deemed to serve in place of an agreement between the two chambers on an annual budget
resolution for the purposes of establishing enforceable budget levels for the upcoming fiscal year
(or multiple fiscal years). Employing a deeming resolution, however, does not preclude Congress
from subsequently agreeing to a budget resolution.
While referred to as deeming resolutions, such mechanisms are not formal y defined and have no
specifical y prescribed content. Instead, they denote the House and Senate, often separately,
engaging legislative procedures to deal with enforcement issues on an ad hoc basis. As described
below, the mechanisms vary in form and function, but they always (1) include or reference certain
budgetary levels (e.g., aggregate spending limits and committee spending al ocations) and (2)
contain language stipulating that such levels are to be enforceable by points of order as if they
had been included in a budget resolution.12
In Which Years Did Congress Rely on Deeming
Resolutions in the Absence of Agreement on a
Budget Resolution?
As shown in Table 1, since the creation of the budget resolution, dates of adoption have varied,
and there have been 11 years in which Congress did not come to agreement on a budget
resolution. As shown in Table 2, in each of those years, one or both chambers employed at least
one deeming resolution to serve as a substitute for a budget resolution. It should be noted that
Table 2 includes only the deeming resolutions that pertain to the fiscal years for which Congress
did not agree on a budget resolution. For example, for FY2021, the House and Senate ultimately
agreed to a budget resolution, and so data pertaining to FY2021 is not included in this report even
though the House and Senate utilized a deeming resolution before agreement on a budget
resolution was reached.13

12 Because a deeming resolution typically provides enforcement for only one chamber, it could not trigger the budget
reconciliation process allowing expedited consideration of reconciliation legislation in both chambers of Congre ss.
13 T he appropriations process for FY2021 moved forward many months before there was agreement on a budget
resolution. T itle II of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 (P.L. 116-37) directed the House and Senate Budget
Committee chairs to file statements of budgetary levels, which would have the same effect in the respective chambers
as if they had been included in a budget resolution. T he act required that (1) for discretion ary spending, the filed levels
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Table 1. Dates of Final Adoption of Budget Resolutions: FY1976-FY2020
Fiscal Year
Date Adopted
Fiscal Year
Date Adopted
1976
05-14-1975
1999
[none]
1977
05-13-1976
2000
04-15-1999
1978
05-17-1977
2001
04-13-2000
1979
05-17-1978
2002
05-10-2001
1980
05-24-1979
2003
[none]
1981
06-12-1980
2004
04-11-2003
1982
05-21-1981
2005
[none]
1983
06-23-1982
2006
04-28-2005
1984
06-23-1983
2007
[none]
1985
10-01-1984
2008
05-17-2007
1986
08-01-1985
2009
06-05-2008
1987
06-27-1986
2010
04-29-2009
1988
06-24-1987
2011
[none]
1989
06-06-1988
2012
[none]
1990
05-18-1989
2013
[none]
1991
10-09-1990
2014
[none]
1992
05-22-1991
2015
[none]
1993
05-21-1992
2016
05-05-2015
1994
04-01-1993
2017
01-13-2017
1995
05-12-1994
2018
10-26-2017
1996
06-29-1995
2019
[none]
1997
06-13-1996
2020
[none]
1998
06-05-1997
2021
02-05-2021
Source: Congress.gov.

be consistent with the statutory limits on discretionary spending (as amended by the act), and (2) for mandatory
spending and revenue levels, the filed levels be consistent with the most recent baseline projections of the
Congressional Budget Office. For the House, pursuant to the act, on May 1, 2020, House Budget Committee Chair
Yarmuth filed such levels (Congressional Record [daily edition], pp. H1968-H1969). As required, those levels were
updated to reflect revised budgetary levels on July 22, 2020 ( Congressional Record [daily edition], p. H3691), and
December 21, 2020 (Congressional Record [daily edition], p. H7320). T hese levels were extended by H.Res. 8 (117th
Congress). For the Senate, pursuant to the act, on May 4, 2020, Senate Budget Committee Chair Enzi filed such levels
(Congressional Record [daily edition], pp. S2205-S2206). As required, those levels were updated t o reflect revised
budgetary levels on September 24, 2020 (Congressional Record [daily edition], pp. S5859-S5860). Likewise, t he
appropriations process for FY2017 moved forward before there was agreement on a budget resolution. For the Senate,
the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-74) included a provision directing the Senate Budget Committee chair to
file levels in the Congressional Record that would be enforceable in t he Senate as if they had been included in a budget
resolution for FY2017. No such provision was included for the House. In the absence of any such enforceable levels,
the House Appropriations Committee adopted “interim 302(b) sub-allocations” for some individual appropriations
bills. Such levels did not act as an enforceable cap on appropriations measures when they were considered on the floor.
A separate House rule, however, prohibited floor amendments that would increase spending in a general appropriatio ns
bill, effectively creating a cap on individual appropriations bills when they were considered on the floor.
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Table 2. Deeming Resolutions Pertaining to Those Fiscal Years for Which Congress
Did Not Agree on a Budget Resolution
Legislative Vehicles and Dates of Adoption
Fiscal Year
(Congress)
House
Senate
FY1999 (105th)

H.Res. 477: a resolution also providing

S.Res. 209: a resolution solely for
for the consideration of the FY1999
deeming purposes. Adopted 4-2-1998.
Military Construction Appropriations

S.Res. 312: a resolution solely for
Act. Adopted 6-19-1998.
deeming purposes. Adopted 10-21-1998.
FY2003 (107th)

H.Res. 428: a resolution also providing

The Senate did not adopt a deeming
for the consideration of a FY2002
resolution.
supplemental appropriations act.
Adopted 5-22-2002.
FY2005 (108th)

H.Res. 649: a resolution also providing

H.R. 4613: the Defense Appropriations
for the consideration of the conference
Act for FY2005, Section 14007 (P.L. 108-
report on the FY2005 budget
287). Enacted 8-5-2004.
resolution. Adopted 5-19-2004.
FY2007 (109th)

H.Res. 818: a resolution also providing

H.R. 4939: the Emergency Supplemental
for the consideration of the FY2007
Appropriations Act for Defense, the
Department of Interior Appropriations
Global War on Terror, and Hurricane
Act. Adopted 5-18-2006.
Recovery for FY2006, Section 7035 (P.L.
109-234). Enacted 6-15-2006.
FY2011 (111th)

H.Res. 1493: A resolution solely for

The Senate did not adopt a deeming
deeming purposes (referred to as a
resolution.
budget enforcement resolution) was
adopted as part of H.Res. 1500, a
resolution also providing for
consideration of a Senate amendment
to an FY2010 Supplemental
Appropriations Act. Adopted 7-1-2010.
FY2012 (112th)

H.Res. 287: a resolution also providing

S. 365: The Budget Control Act of 2011,
for providing for the consideration of
Section 106, requires the chair of the
the FY2012 Department of Homeland
Senate Budget Committee to file
Security Appropriations Act. Adopted
enforceable budgetary levels for FY2012
6-1-2011.
(P.L. 112-25). Enacted 8-2-2011.
FY2013 (112th)

H.Res. 614: a resolution also providing

S. 365: The Budget Control Act of 2011,
for the consideration of the
Section 106, requires the chair of the
Sportsmen’s Heritage Act. Adopted 4-
Senate Budget Committee to file
17-2012.
enforceable budgetary levels for FY2013

by April 15, 2012 (P.L. 112-25). Enacted

H.Res. 643: a resolution also providing
for the consideration of the FY2013
8-2-2011.
Commerce, Justice, Science, and
Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
Adopted 5-8-2012.
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Fiscal Year
(Congress)
House
Senate
FY2014 (113th)

H.Res. 243: a resolution also providing

H.J.Res. 59: The Bipartisan Budget Act of
for consideration of the FY2014
2013, Section 111, requires the chair of
Military Constructions and Veterans
the Senate Budget Committee to file
Affairs Appropriations Act and the
enforceable budgetary levels for FY2014
FY2014 Homeland Security
(P.L. 113-67). Enacted 12-26-2013.
Appropriations act. Adopted 6-4-2013.

H.J.Res. 59: The Bipartisan Budget Act
of 2013. Section 111, requires the chair
of the House Budget Committee to file
enforceable budgetary levels for
FY2014 (P.L. 113-67). Enacted 12-26-
2013.
FY2015 (113th)

H.J.Res. 59: The Bipartisan Budget Act

H.J.Res. 59: The Bipartisan Budget Act of
of 2013, Section 115, requires the chair
2013, Section 115, requires the chair of
of the House Budget Committee to file
the Senate Budget Committee to file
enforceable budgetary levels for
enforceable budgetary levels for FY2015
FY2015 if Congress has not agreed to a
if Congress has not agreed to a budget
budget resolution by 4-15-2014 (P.L.
resolution by 4-15-2014 (P.L. 113-67).
113-67). Enacted 12-26-2013.
Enacted 12-26-2013.
FY2019 (115th)

H.R. 1892: The Bipartisan Budget Act

H.R. 1892: The Bipartisan Budget Act of
of 2018, Section 30104, requires the
2018, Section 30103, requires the chair
chair of the House Budget Committee
of the Senate Budget Committee to file
to file enforceable budgetary levels for
enforceable budgetary levels for FY2019
FY2019 if Congress has not agreed to a
if Congress has not agreed to a budget
budget resolution by 5-15-2018 (P.L.
resolution by 5-15-2018 (P.L. 115-123).
115-123). Enacted 02-09-2018.
Enacted 02-09-2018.
FY2020 (116th)

H.Res. 293: requires the Chair of the

H.R. 3877: The Bipartisan Budget Act of
House Budget Committee to file
2019, Section 204, requires the chair of
enforceable budgetary levels for
the Senate Budget Committee to file
FY2020. Adopted 04-09-2019.
enforceable budgetary levels for FY2020

H.R. 3877: The Bipartisan Budget Act
(P.L. 116-37). Enacted 08-02-2019.
of 2019, Section 201, permits the chair
of the House Budget Committee to
update the enforceable budgetary
levels for FY2020 that were filed
pursuant to H.Res. 293 (P.L. 116-37).
Enacted 08-02-2019.
Source: Congress.gov.
Notes: Table includes only the deeming resolutions that pertain to the fiscal years for which Congress did not
agree on a budget resolution.
In What Ways Have Deeming Resolutions Varied?
As described below, deeming resolutions have varied in several ways.
Variations in Legislative Vehicle
Congress initial y used simple resolutions as the legislative vehicle for deeming resolutions
(which is why they are referred to as resolutions). As shown in Table 2, however, deeming
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resolutions have also been included as provisions in lawmaking vehicles, such as appropriations
bil s.14
Questions sometimes arise regarding whether the use of an alternative legislative vehicle has any
impact on the enforceability of the budgetary levels. Article I of the Constitution, however, gives
each house of Congress broad authority to determine its rules of procedure. The House and the
Senate may include rulemaking provisions, such as enforceable budgetary levels, in any type of
legislative vehicle. In each case, the rulemaking provisions have equal standing and effect. Under
this constitutional rulemaking principle, each house has the authority to take parliamentary action
that waives its own rules in certain circumstances if it sees fit. This power is not compromised by
the fact that the rulemaking provision may be established in statute.
Variations in Timing
Timing of congressional action on deeming resolutions has varied, since deeming resolutions may
be initiated any time Congress regards it as necessary. Chambers have often agreed to deeming
resolutions several months after they have separately agreed to a budget resolution but have not
come to agreement with each other. Also, chambers have agreed to a deeming resolution on the
same day as agreeing to a budget resolution in situations when one chamber foresees difficulty
resolving differences with the other chamber. For example, the Senate agreed to a budget
resolution for FY1999 on April 2, 1998, and, anticipating an impasse with the House, agreed to a
deeming resolution the same day. Similarly, the House passed a budget resolution for FY2007 on
May 18, 2006, and agreed to a deeming resolution the same day. Further, deeming resolutions
have been provided for far in advance of potential action on a budget resolution. For example, the
Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-74, enacted in November of 2015) included a provision
directing the Senate Budget Committee chair to file in the Congressional Record levels that
would then become enforceable in the Senate as if they had been included in a budget resolution
for FY2017.
Often, a chamber initiates action on a deeming resolution so that it can subsequently begin
consideration of appropriations measures. In the House deeming resolutions are often included in
the same resolution providing for consideration of the first appropriations measure for the
upcoming fiscal year.15
Just as employing a deeming resolution does not preclude Congress from subsequently agreeing
to a budget resolution, it also does not preclude Congress from acting on another deeming
resolution that either expands or replaces the first deeming resolution. For example, in FY1999
the Senate agreed to a deeming resolution in April, and in October it agreed to a further deeming
resolution that amended the previous deeming resolution. Likewise, the House agreed to a
deeming resolution for FY2020 in April but in August passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019,
which included a deeming resolution that updated and superseded the initial deeming resolution.

14 Variations in legislative vehicle affect when the budgetary levels will become enforceable. For example, budgetary
levels included in a simple resolution may be enforceable as soon as the resolution is agreed to by the chamber. On the
other hand, if such provisions were included in a lawmaking vehicle, such levels would not be enforceable until that
measure was enacted. If, as described below, the deeming resolution requires certain budgetary levels to be filed by the
Budget Committee chair, levels would not be enforceable until filed.
15 For example, deeming resolutions were included in the resolutions providing for consideration of the first
appropriations measure for FY1999, FY2007, and FY2012.
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Variations in Content
Deeming resolutions always include at least two things: (1) language setting forth or referencing
specific budgetary levels (e.g., aggregate spending limits and/or committee spending al ocations),
and (2) language stipulating that such levels are to be enforceable as if they had been included in
a budget resolution. Even so, significant variations exist in their content, as shown in Table 3.
Budget resolutions include budgetary levels in the form of explicit dollar amounts, and in some
instances deeming resolutions have done the same. For example
Pending the adoption by the Congress of a concurrent resolution on the budget for FY1999,
the following allocations contemplated by section 302(a) of the Congressional Budget Act
of 1974 shall be considered as made to the Committee on Appropriations: (1) New
discretionary budget authority: $531,961,000,000.
(2)
Discretionary outlays:
$562,277,000,000.16
Some deeming resolutions, however, have not included the budgetary levels themselves but have
incorporated them by reference, particularly in situations when that chamber has already passed a
budget resolution but has not come to agreement with the other chamber. For example:
Pending the adoption of a concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2003, the
provisions of House Concurrent Resolution 353, as adopted by the House, shall have force
and effect in the House as though Congress has adopted such concurrent resolution.17
In some cases, the deeming resolution has stated that the chairs of the House and Senate Budget
Committees shal subsequently file in the Congressional Record levels that wil then become
enforceable as if they had been included in a budget resolution. The committee chairs are
typical y directed to file particular levels, such as those consistent with discretionary spending
caps or those consistent with the baseline projections of the Congressional Budget Office. Such
provisions have been used recently in the Budget Control Act of 2011 and the Bipartisan Budget
Acts of 2013, 2015, 2018, and 2019.18 For example:
For the purpose of enforcing the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 for fiscal year 2014...
the ... levels provided for in subsection (b) shall apply in the same manner as for a
concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2014.... The Chairmen of the Committee
on the Budget of the House of Representatives and the Senate shall each submit a statement
for publication in the Congressional Record as soon as practicable after the date of
enactment of this Act that includes ... committee allocations for fiscal year 2014 consistent
with the discretionary spending limits set forth in this Act.19
As stated above, deeming resolutions wil sometimes reference a budget resolution that has been
previously adopted by that chamber and wil deem that budget resolution to be enforceable.
Alternatively, mechanisms may include or reference only certain levels normal y included in a
budget resolution. For example, in some cases deeming resolutions have included only committee
al ocations to the Appropriations Committee, while in other cases they have included al ocations
for al committees, as wel as aggregate spending and revenue levels. While content has varied,
deeming resolutions that have not referenced a previously passed budget resolution have typical y
included only levels to be enforced by points of order, such as aggregate spending and revenue

16 H.Res. 477, §2 (105th Congress).
17 H.Res. 428, §2 (107th Congress).
18 For more information on the Budget Control Act and the Bipartisan Budget Acts, see CRS Report R44874, The
Budget Control Act: Frequently Asked Questions
, by Grant A. Driessen and Megan S. Lynch .
19 Section 111 of the Bipartisan Budget Act, also referred to as the Murray -Ryan agreement (Division A of P.L. 113-
67).
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Deeming Resolutions: Budget Enforcement in the Absence of a Budget Resolution

levels as wel as spending al ocations for each committee. Deeming resolutions general y do not
include all of the levels required to be in a budget resolution by the Budget Act. For example, the
Budget Act requires that the budget resolution include the corresponding deficit level and public
debt level under the enforceable budgetary framework. These have not typical y been included in
deeming resolutions. In addition, deeming resolutions have often included other matter, such as
points of order.

Congressional Research Service
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Table 3. Provisions Included in Deeming Resolutions Pertaining to Those Fiscal Years for Which Congress Did Not Agree on a
Budget Resolution
Fiscal Year
Chamber
Deeming Resolution
(Congress)
Standard Provisions
Other Provisions
FY1999
House
H.Res. 477
Provides committee spending al ocation to the House

(105th)
Appropriations Committee.
Senate
S.Res. 209
Provides committee spending al ocation to the Senate

Appropriations Committee.
S.Res. 312
Provides aggregate spending levels, aggregate revenue levels,
Strikes the text in S.Res. 209 (the deeming resolution
and Social Security spending and revenue levels.
previously agreed to).
Directs the Senate Budget Committee chair to file committee
Al ows the Senate Budget Committee chair to make revisions
spending al ocations.
to levels in the resolution reflecting legislation enacted in the
105th Congress.
Directs the Senate Budget Committee chair to make revisions
to the congressional PAYGO. Includes effective date and
expiration date.
FY2003
House
H.Res. 428
References H.Con.Res. 353, the budget resolution for FY2003,
Provides that accounts identified for advance appropriations
(107th)
as adopted by the House.
shal be those referred to in H.Con.Res. 353 (to be filed by the
Directs the House Budget Committee chair to file committee
House Budget Committee chair).
spending al ocations.
Provides estimated surplus in reference to the Contingency
Fund for Additional Surpluses included in H.Con.Res. 353 (to
be filed by the House Budget Committee chair).
Provides committee al ocations for Medicare, as required in
H.Con.Res. 353 (to be filed by the House Budget Committee
chair).
Senate



FY2005
House
H.Res. 649
References the conference report for S.Con.Res. 95, the budget Notes that the deeming resolution shal not be construed to
(108th)
resolution for FY2005, as adopted by the House.
engage Rule XXVII (the former House rule known as the
Gephardt rule that required the House clerk to engross and
transmit public debt limit legislation to the Senate upon
adoption of the budget resolution).
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Fiscal Year
Chamber
Deeming Resolution
(Congress)
Standard Provisions
Other Provisions
Senate
H.R. 4613
Provides committee spending al ocation to the Senate
References certain adjustments and limits in S.Con.Res. 95
Appropriations Committee.
related to contingency procedures for surface transportation,
discretionary spending limits in the Senate, supplemental
appropriations for Iraq and related activities, and the
extension of the emergency rule in the Senate.
Revokes the budget resolution for FY2004.
Includes definitions and effective date.
FY2007
House
H.Res. 818
References H.Con.Res. 376, the budget resolution for FY2007,
Notes that the deeming resolution shal not be construed to
(109th)
as adopted by the House.
engage the Gephardt rule.
Senate
H.R. 4939
Provides committee spending al ocation to the Senate
References certain adjustments and limits in S.Con.Res. 83—
Appropriations Committee.
the budget resolution for FY2007, as passed by the Senate—
related to emergency legislation.
Alters certain sections of the budget resolution for FY2006
related to Senate discretionary spending limits and the
unfunded mandates point of order.
Includes effective date.
FY2011
House
H.Res. 1493
Provides committee spending al ocation to the House
Extends provisions of the FY2010 budget resolution.
(111th)
Appropriations Committee.
Alters provisions of the FY2010 budget resolution and
includes new provisions to reflect policies enacted in the
Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010.
Includes “sense of the House” provisions related to the
economy, investment, and deficit reduction.
Includes a deficit-neutral reserve fund related to the
recommendations of the National Commission on Fiscal
Responsibility and Reform.
Notes that the deeming resolution shal not be construed to
engage the Gephardt rule.
Senate



FY2012
House
H.Res. 287
References H.Con.Res. 34, the budget resolution for FY2012, as Directs the House Budget Committee chair to adjust
(112th)
adopted by the House.
al ocations to accommodate enactment of certain legislation.
Provides committee spending al ocations (in the committee
Includes expiration.
report of H.Res. 287).
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Fiscal Year
Chamber
Deeming Resolution
(Congress)
Standard Provisions
Other Provisions
Senate
S. 365
Directs the Senate Budget Committee chair to file committee
Directs the Senate Budget chair to make revisions to the
spending al ocations, aggregate spending levels, aggregate
congressional PAYGO scorecard.
revenue levels, and Social Security spending and revenue levels.
Includes expiration.
FY2013
House
H.Res. 614
References H.Con.Res. 112, the budget resolution for FY2013

(112th)
as adopted by the House, with modifications.
H.Res. 643
Amends H.Res. 614 (the previously agreed-to deeming

resolution) by inserting committee spending al ocations as
included in the committee report of the budget resolution.
Senate
S. 365
Directs the Senate Budget Committee chair to file committee
Directs the Senate Budget Committee chair to make revisions
spending al ocations, aggregate spending levels, aggregate
to the Senate PAYGO scorecard.
revenue levels, and Social Security spending and revenue levels.
Includes expiration.
FY2014
House
H.Res. 243
References H.Con.Res. 25, the budget resolution for FY2014, as —
(113th)
adopted by the House, with committee al ocations as included
in the committee report of the budget resolution.
H.J.Res. 59
Directs the House Budget Committee chair to file committee
States that H.Con.Res. 25, the budget resolution for FY2014
spending al ocations, aggregate spending levels, and aggregate
as passed by the House, shal be enforceable to the extent that
revenue levels.
its levels are not superseded by the levels filed by the House
Budget Committee chair.
Al ows the House Budget Committee chair to reduce levels to
reflect enactment of legislation reducing the deficit.
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Fiscal Year
Chamber
Deeming Resolution
(Congress)
Standard Provisions
Other Provisions
Senate
H.J.Res. 59
Directs the Senate Budget Committee chair to file committee
Al ows the Senate Budget Committee chair to reduce levels to
spending al ocations, aggregate spending levels, aggregate
reflect enactment of legislation reducing the deficit.
revenue levels, and Social Security spending and revenue levels.
Creates a point of order for advance appropriations.
Directs the Senate Budget Committee chair to make revisions
to the Senate PAYGO scorecard.
References provisions from S.Con.Res. 13, the budget
resolution for FY2010 as passed by the Senate, that shal
remain in effect (related to budgetary treatment of certain
discretionary administrative expenses, application and effect of
changes in al ocations and aggregates, and adjustments to
reflect changes in concepts and definitions).
Includes a deficit-neutral reserve fund to replace sequestration
and incorporates by reference many reserve funds included in
S.Con.Res. 8, the budget resolution for FY2014 as adopted by
the Senate.
Notes that certain provisions shal expire if a budget
resolution for FY2015 is agreed to by the House and Senate.
FY2015
House
H.J.Res. 59
Directs the House Budget Committee chair to file committee
Al ows the House Budget Committee chair to also file updated
(113th)
spending al ocations, aggregate spending levels, and aggregate
versions of certain provisions included in H.Con.Res. 25, the
revenue levels (if a budget resolution for FY2015 has not been
budget resolution for FY2014 (related to reserve funds, limits
agreed upon by April 15, 2014).
on advance appropriations, adjustments of discretionary
spending levels, budgetary treatment of certain transactions,
and a separate al ocation for overseas contingency
operations/global war on terrorism).
Al ows the House Budget Committee chair to reduce levels to
reflect enactment of legislation reducing the deficit.
Notes that if al levels have not been filed by the House
Budget Committee chair by May 15, then on the next day of
House session, the Budget Committee chair shal file a
committee spending al ocation for the House Appropriations
Committee.
Notes that certain provisions shal expire if a budget
resolution for FY2015 is agreed to by the House and Senate.
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Fiscal Year
Chamber
Deeming Resolution
(Congress)
Standard Provisions
Other Provisions
Senate
H.J.Res. 59
Directs the Senate Budget Committee chair to file committee
Al ows Senate Budget Committee chair to also file updated
spending al ocations, aggregate spending levels, aggregate
versions of a reserve fund to replace sequestration and those
revenue levels, and Social Security spending and revenue levels
reserve funds incorporated by reference from S.Con.Res. 8,
(if a budget resolution for FY2015 has not been agreed upon by
the budget resolution for FY2014 as adopted by the Senate.
April 15, 2014).
Notes that the levels filed wil supersede levels filed for
FY2014 (described above).
Notes that certain provisions shal expire if a budget
resolution for FY2015 is agreed to by the House and Senate.
FY2019
House
H.R. 1892
Directs the House Budget Committee chair to file committee
States that upon the submission of levels and al ocations by the
(115th)
spending al ocations, aggregate spending levels, and aggregate
House Budget Committee chair, 18 provisions included in
revenue levels (if a budget resolution for FY2019 has not been
H.Con.Res. 71, the budget resolution for FY2018, would be
agreed upon by May 15, 2018).
activated for FY2019 (related to points of order, scoring rules,
adjustments, and a reserve fund, among other things).
Al ows the House Budget Committee chair to adjust levels to
reflect enactment of legislation reducing the deficit.
Notes that if al levels have not been filed by the House
Budget Committee chair by May 15, then on the next day of
House session, the Budget Committee chair shal file a
committee spending al ocation for the House Appropriations
Committee.
Notes that certain provisions shal expire if a budget
resolution for FY2019 is agreed to by the House and Senate.
Senate
H.R. 1892
Directs the Senate Budget Committee chair to file committee
Al ows Senate Budget Committee chair to file updated
spending al ocations, aggregate spending levels, aggregate
versions of 28 deficit-neutral reserve funds contained in Title
revenue levels, and Social Security spending and revenue levels
III of H.Con.Res. 71, the budget resolution for FY2018.
(if a budget resolution for FY2019 has not been agreed upon by
Notes that certain provisions shal expire if a budget
May 15, 2018).
resolution for FY2019 is agreed to by the House and Senate.
FY2020
House
H.Res. 293
Directs the House Budget Committee chair to file committee
Directs the House Budget Committee chair to adjust
(116th)
spending al ocations, aggregate spending levels, and aggregate
al ocations to accommodate certain legislation.
revenue levels for FY2020.


H.R. 3877
Al ows the House Budget Committee chair to update budgetary Removes the House Budget Committee chair’s authority to
levels filed pursuant to H.Res. 293 to reflect new statutory
make certain adjustments pursuant to H.Res. 293.
discretionary spending limit levels.
CRS-15


Fiscal Year
Chamber
Deeming Resolution
(Congress)
Standard Provisions
Other Provisions
Senate

H.R. 3877
Directs the Senate Budget Committee chair to file committee
Al ows Senate Budget Committee chair to file updated
spending al ocations, aggregate spending levels, aggregate
versions of deficit-neutral reserve funds contained in Title III of
revenue levels, and Social Security spending and revenue levels
H.Con.Res. 71, the budget resolution for FY2018.
as soon as practicable.
Notes that the filed levels and reserve funds shal expire if a
budget resolution for FY2020 is agreed to by the House and
Senate.
Source: Congress.gov.

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Deeming Resolutions: Budget Enforcement in the Absence of a Budget Resolution

What Types of Budgetary Enforcement Exist
Outside of the Budget Resolution?
In addition to the budget resolution, Congress employs other types of budget enforcement. Some
of these enforcement mechanisms are procedural (which are enforced through points of order),
and some are statutory (which are enforced through sequestration). In the absence of a budget
resolution, these additional budget enforcement mechanisms remain intact. This means that even
without a budget resolution, there may stil be prohibitions and restrictions on different types of
budgetary legislation. For example, a limit on defense and nondefense discretionary spending in
the form of annual discretionary spending caps has previously acted as a guide to appropriators in
crafting appropriations measures. In addition, limits on direct spending and revenue legislation
exist through points of order and statutory enforcement such as the Senate and House PAYGO
rules, as wel as statutory PAYGO.
Budget Enforcement Through Points of Order
The House and Senate have many budget-related points of order that seek to restrict or prohibit
consideration of different types of budgetary legislation. These points of order are found in
various places such as the Budget Act, House and Senate standing rules, and past budget
resolutions.
For example, for FY2017, Congress moved forward with appropriations in the absence of a
budget resolution or deeming resolution. The House Appropriations Committee adopted “interim
302(b) sub-al ocations” for some individual appropriations bil s.20 Such levels did not act as an
enforceable cap on appropriations measures when they were considered on the floor. A separate
order adopted by the House as a part of H.Res. 5 (114th Congress), however, prohibited floor
amendments that would increase spending in a general appropriations bil , effectively creating a
cap on individual appropriations bil s when they were considered on the floor.21
In addition, in the Senate there exists a pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rule that prohibits the
consideration of direct spending or revenue legislation that is projected to increase the deficit.22
Likewise, the House has a pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rule that prohibits the consideration of direct
spending or revenue legislation that is projected to increase the deficit.23

20 T hese levels were made available on the House Appropriations Committee website. T he most recent version was
released July 14, 2016, and can be accessed at http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/
07.14.16_revised_suballocation_of_budget_allocations_for_fy_2017.pdf .
21 Specifically, , Section 3(d)(3), stated, “ It shall not be in order to consider an amendment to a general appropriation
bill proposing a net increase in budget authority in the bill (unless considered en bloc with another am endment or
amendments proposing an equal or greater decrease in such budget authority pursuant to clause 2(f) of rule XXI).” T his
standing order, which was in effect as a separate order in the 112 th, 113th, and 114th Congresses and was incorporated
into House Rule XXI by H.Res. 5 (115th Congress), is no longer in effect. T his provision prohibited amendments to
general appropriations bills that would result in a net increase in the level of budget authority in the bill.
22 In any of the time periods of (1) current fiscal year; (2) the budget year; (3) the period consisting of the current fiscal
year, the budget year, and the four ensuing fiscal years following the budget year; and (4) the period consisting of the
current year, the budget year, and the ensuing nine fiscal years following the budget year. T his applies to the on-budget
deficit, which excludes the off-budget entities (Social Security trust funds and the Postal Service fund). T his rule may
be waived by three-fifths of Senators chosen and sworn. T his rule has been articulated in past budget resolutions dating
back to the 104th Congress and has no expiration per S.Con.Res. 11 (114th Congress).
23 In either of two time periods: (1) the period consisting of the current fiscal year, the budget year, and the four ensuing
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Deeming Resolutions: Budget Enforcement in the Absence of a Budget Resolution

Numerous other points of order exist. A summary of many of these can be found in CRS Report
97-865, Points of Order in the Congressional Budget Process, by James V. Saturno.
Budget Enforcement Through Statutory Means
In addition to points of order, there are other types of budget enforcement mechanisms that
employ statutory enforcement known as a sequester. A sequester provides for the automatic
cancel ation of previously enacted spending, making largely across-the-board reductions to
nonexempt programs, activities, and accounts. A sequester is implemented through a
sequestration order issued by the President as required by law.24
The purpose of a sequester is to enforce certain statutory budget requirements, such as enforcing
statutory limits on discretionary spending or ensuring that new revenue and direct spending laws
do not have the net effect of increasing the deficit. General y, sequesters have been used as an
enforcement mechanism that would either discourage Congress from enacting legislation
violating a specific budgetary goal or encourage Congress to enact legislation that would fulfil a
specific budgetary goal.
Sequestration has been employed as the enforcement mechanism for several budgetary policies,
such as:
1. The Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA; P.L. 112-25) established annual statutory
limits on each defense discretionary and non-defense discretionary spending that
are in effect through 2021. If legislation is enacted breaching either the defense
or non-defense discretionary spending cap, then a sequester wil occur, making
cuts to non-exempt programs within the corresponding category to make up for
the breach. In this situation, the sequester wil either deter enactment of
legislation violating the spending limits or—in the event that legislation is
enacted violating these limits—automatical y reduce discretionary spending to
the limit specified in law.25 Under current law, the discretionary spending limits
are in effect only through FY2021. Unless the limits are extended in law, there
are no similar statutory limits for FY2022 or beyond.26
2. Another enforcement mechanism was created by the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go
Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-139). The budgetary goal of Statutory PAYGO is to ensure
that new revenue and direct spending legislation enacted during a session of
Congress does not have the net effect of increasing the deficit (or reducing a
surplus) over either a 6- or 11-year period. The sequester enforces this
requirement by either deterring enactment of such legislation or, in the event that

fiscal years following the budget year; and (2) the period consisting of the current year, the budget year, and the
ensuing nine fiscal years following the budget year (House rule XXI, clause 10).
24 For more information on sequester, see CRS Report R42972, Sequestration as a Budget Enforcement Process:
Frequently Asked Questions
, by Megan S. Lynch.
25 T he BCA specified that the statutory limits may be adjusted for specific purposes, such as to provide for disaster
relief and the global war on terrorism. For more information on discretionary spending caps, see CRS Report R44874,
The Budget Control Act: Frequently Asked Questions, by Grant A. Driessen and Megan S. Lynch . T he discretionary
spending limits expire after FY2021.
26 For more information on the expiration of the discretionary spending limits, see CRS Report R46752, Expiration of
the Discretionary Spending Lim its: Frequently Asked Questions
, by Megan S. Lynch and Grant A. Driessen .
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Deeming Resolutions: Budget Enforcement in the Absence of a Budget Resolution

3. legislation has such an effect, automatical y reducing spending to achieve the
required deficit neutrality.27

Author Information

Megan S. Lynch

Specialist on Congress and the Legislative Process


Acknowledgments
This report draws on CRS Report RL31443, The “Deeming Resolution”: A Budget Enforcement Tool,
authored by former CRS Senior Specialist Robert Keith. Keith performed extensive analysis and
recordkeeping, and his work contributed significantly to this and many other CRS products.

Disclaimer
This document was prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). CRS serves as nonpartisan
shared staff to congressional committees and Members of Congress. It operates solely at the behest of and
under the direction of Congress. Information in a CRS Report should n ot be relied upon for purposes other
than public understanding of information that has been provided by CRS to Members of Congress in
connection with CRS’s institutional role. CRS Reports, as a work of the United States Government, are not
subject to copyright protection in the United States. Any CRS Report may be reproduced and distributed in
its entirety without permission from CRS. However, as a CRS Report may include copyrighted images or
material from a third party, you may need to obtain the permission of the copyright holder if you wish to
copy or otherwise use copyrighted material.


27 For more information on Statutory PAYGO, see CRS Report R41157, The Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010:
Sum m ary and Legislative History
, by Bill Heniff Jr.
Congressional Research Service
R44296 · VERSION 13 · UPDATED
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