The Federal Budget Process

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The Federal Budget Process

The Federal Budget is the government’s financial plan for the United States. During this process, congress develops a budget resolution determining the amount of money the federal government can spend each year. The main stages of the federal budget process include: the president’s budget request, the congressional budget resolution, appropriation measures and the budget reconciliation process.

Stage One: The President’s Budget Request
The Federal Budget process often begins with a proposal from the President to the United States Congress that contains a thorough budget request for the upcoming year; which begins on October 1st. The submission of the proposal usually occurs on or before the first Monday in February.
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The House and Senate Budget Committees work on the resolution draft together. The budget resolution goes to the House and Senate floor to be amended when the committees are finished with the draft. After the draft is amended, it will go to a House-Senate conference to settle any disputes and both houses pass a conference report. The budget resolution does not need the President’s signature or veto because it is a “concurrent” congressional resolution. The resolution draft only needs more than half of votes to proceed and cannot be stalled in the Senate. The budget resolution draft is required to be approved by April 15th but sometimes it can be prolonged. However, there are times when Congress is not able to pass a budget resolution. When this happens the prior year’s resolution remains active. The budget resolution draft contains an amount revealing how much Congress is allowed to spend in every budget “function” and how much profit the government is expected to earn for the next five years. There are two ways the spending amounts in the budget resolution are specified: budget authority and outlays. The amount of money Congress lets a federal agency commit to spend is the budget authority. Budget Authority represents the limit that is put on funding Congress provides. An …show more content…
The Senate and House Appropriation committees have authority over elective spending decisions and individual committees manage direct spending decisions. “The President requests appropriations in his budget request and federal agencies provide analysis and materials on behalf of the President in support of these requests” (“Federal Budget Process”, 2015). All the same, the appropriations procedure is solely a legislature power. This process usually begins in the House. It must be approved by the proper Appropriations Subcommittee in order for the House or Senate to vote on the Bill. “The main enforcement mechanism that prevents Congress from passing legislation that violates the terms of the budget resolution is the ability of a single member of the House or the Senate to raise a budget point of order on the floor to block such legislation” (Longest, 2010, pp. 353). Though, in recent years this order has not been vital in the House because it can be overlooked by a quick majority vote on a resolution established by the leadership-appointed Rules Committee. This committee establishes the conditions that decide how each bill will be measured on the floor. On the other hand, the point of order is very vital in the Senate. Any legislation that surpasses a committee’s spending allocation is susceptible to a budget point of order on

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