House Republicans have promised to lay out a path to a balanced budget within a decade, something Democrats will reject out of hand and which independent deficit hawks say is hard to achieve realistically.
For the Democrats, Senate Budget Chairman Patty Murray will put out her proposal by the end of March, if not sooner.
The proposal will almost certainly include new ways to raise revenue by taxing the rich in addition to spending cuts.
April 15: House and Senate must deliver ... sorta
Thanks to the No Budget, No Pay Act, the House and Senate are each obligated to pass their own budget resolution by tax day. A budget resolution sets the top-line amounts for spending and revenue for the next fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.
If either chamber misses that deadline, members of that chamber will have their pay withheld.
So does that mean the country finally gets a real budget?
Nope. Both chambers still have to reconcile the differences between their budget resolutions. And there's no deadline to do that. Plus, even if they pass a joint resolution, then comes the much harder work of deciding how to allocate funds among government departments and programs.
May 18 to Aug. 1: Debt ceiling must be raised
The No Budget, No Pay Act suspended the debt ceiling until May 18, letting Treasury continue to borrow to make payments due during the suspension period. But on May 19, the debt ceiling would be restored at its current level of $16.394 trillion plus however much Treasury borrowed during the suspension period.
Ideally Congress will have decided by then to raise the debt ceiling enough to get the country through the next year or two. But if it hasn't, Treasury could use "extraordinary measures" to stave off the prospect of default until early August by some estimates.