The Main Stages Of 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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“First, it tells Congress what the President believes overall federal fiscal policy should be, as established by three main components: (1) how much money the federal government should spend on public purposes; (2) how much it should take in as tax revenues; and (3) how much of a deficit the federal government should run, which is simply the difference between (1) and (2)” (Longest, 2010, pp. 349). Secondly, the budget proposal reveals the President’s main concerns for federal programs; including how much money the President thinks should be disbursed to the departments of defense, agriculture, education, health and so on. The President’s budget is carefully detailed and usually advises funding levels for each separate federal program. In addition, the president’s proposal not only plans out fiscal policy and budget main concerns for the coming year but for a few years ahead as well. It also contains historical tables that display previous budget data. Lastly, the President’s proposal lets Congress know what spending and tax policies change the President’s suggestions. Most of the federal tax code is secure in permanent law, and will not become invalid. “Similarly, more than …show more content…
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

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