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THE FEDERAL BUDGET PROCESS

By The Issue Wonk

 

 

Abstract:  Budgets are appropriated for a fiscal year.  The President submits a budget request to Congress.  The Congressional Budget Office analyzes the proposed budget and advises Congress within a frameword set by the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, as amended.  Appropriations are made by Congress in a series of bills, each of which is sent to the President to be signed or vetoed.  With appropriations bills, the President has the right of "line-item" veto.

 

 

Following is a summary of the United States Budget Process.  For more detailed information, please see the U. S. House of Representatives. 

 

Budgets are appropriated for a fiscal year.  The federal fiscal year (FFY) is from October 1st through September 30th.  (Most state governments use a fiscal year of July 1st through June 30th.)  Both the executive and legislative branches are involved in the budget process.  The President submits a budget request to Congress, usually on the first Monday in February, right after the State of the Union address.  The budget request is prepared by the President’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analyzes the President’s proposed budget and advises Congress.  By February 15th the CBO will submit a report on the economic and budget outlook to the Congressional budget committees.

 

Congress analyzes the President’s request within a framework set by the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, as amended.  This Act establishes the budget process, which is centered around an annual concurrent resolution that sets budget policies and priorities for a multiyear period.  A concurrent resolution is not a law, so it has no statutory effect.  Its main purpose is to establish parameters for estimating revenue and spending, setting debt limits, and other budgetary legislation considerations.

 

Appropriations are made by Congress in a series of bills.  Each bill, as passed, is sent to the President to be signed or vetoed, as are other bills.  However, with appropriations bills, the President has the right of “line-item” veto; that is, “lining out” one or more lines of the budget.

 

 

© The Issue Wonk, 2006

 

 

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