Published on March 5, 2008
The Federal Budget Process: The Federal Budget Process Sea Grant Week ‘03 Rick DeVoe, Kola Garber & Jennifer Greenamoyer Budget Process and Politics: Budget Process and Politics To budget is to fight over money There will always be friction among congressional committees and between those who make tax policy and control spending The budget process is the means by which this conflict is channeled to enable agreement each year There is no federal budgeting devoid of politics Authorization vs. Appropriation: Authorization vs. Appropriation Authorization is writing the law Authorization is policy guidance. It establishes a framework including what should a program do, where should it be located, etc. These bills authorize the federal government to do something, such as implement marine protected areas off the West Coast or amend the tax code, etc. The authorization bill merely says the government CAN spend the money on this purpose if it so chooses. Appropriation is cutting the check Any agency or program needs language in an appropriation bill to actually get the money Appropriations bills are key to making things happen because federal actions require money. Even though most policy guidance is contained in authorization bills, policy can also be modified through the appropriations process. Federal Spending: Federal Spending Source: 2002 Citizen’s Guide to the Federal Budget, www.whitehouse.gov The Federal government spends $2 trillion a year Federal Spending: Federal Spending Non-defense Discretionary ($380,000M) Public Housing ($24,000M) Transportation/Highways ($20,000M) Veterans Health ($18,000M) NASA ($14,000M) NIH ($12,500M) NOAA total = $3,325M Sea Grant total = $65M Other (NSF $5,481M; ONR Basic Research $456M) Budget Cycle: Budget Cycle President’s Budget Congressional Budget Action Implementation Audit and Review adoption of budget resolution passage of annual appropriations bills (Activities related to a single FY stretch over a period of 2.5 calendar years) President’s Budget: President’s Budget The President’s budget must be submitted to Congress no later than early February of each year The President’s budget is only a request to Congress. Nevertheless, the power to formulate the budget is a vital tool in direction of the executive branch and of national policy. The President’s proposals often influence congressional revenue and spending decisions, the extent of the influence varies from year to year and depends more on political and fiscal conditions than on the legal status of the budget. NOAA Internal Process: NOAA Internal Process NOAA and OMB: NOAA and OMB The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is an extension of the White House. OMB operates the executive budget system and advises the President on expenditure of funds. As agencies formulate their budgets, they maintain on-going contact with OMB budget examiners Agencies ask for more than OMB can give them Levels of review: staff, directors, passback, appeals, final decisions Passback is when agencies are notified of OMB’s decisions OMB regulations provide for confidentiality in all budgets before transmittal to Congress Budget Resolution: Budget Resolution Begins just after submission of the President’s Budget The Budget Resolution is Congress’s take on where (not how) to spend money Just as an individual has to allocate money among rent, food and insurance, the federal government allocates its money between items such as national security, environmental protection and education (divided up between 13 appropriations bills) Congress can provide more or less funds that the President has requested or make changes in tax laws Deadline is April 15th 1. Agriculture; 2. Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary; 3. Defense; 4. District of Columbia; 5. Energy and Water; 6. Foreign Operations; 7. Interior; 8. Labor, Health & Human Resources and Education; 9. Legislative Branch; 10. Military Construction; 11. Transportation; 12. Treasury-Postal; 13. Veterans Affairs-HUD and Independent Agencies Budget Resolution: Budget Resolution Each appropriation subcommittee can spend only what the Budget Committee has approved for that particular bill or function - their Allocation. If a member wants to increase funds for a program, for the most part, they can only do so by cutting funding in another program funded through that bill. Functional categories are recommendations only Three numbers that matter: Total allocation (302a) Entitlements (level is set by law, resolution makes judgement call on Pres. Budget mark) Revenues Reconciliation rules matter Appropriations Process: Appropriations Process In the fall of each year, you often hear that Congress is trying to pass the federal budget. It is the appropriations bills that Congress is usually frantically trying to pass before their October 1st deadline (the beginning of the fiscal year) If Congress fails to pass the appropriations bills by October 1st, they must pass a “CR” or continuing resolution. This allows the government to continue operating with funding at the level of the previous fiscal year. Appropriations Season: Appropriations Season Sea Grant Association Campaign President’s Mark SGA appropriations letters/Dear Colleague SGA Spring meeting/Congressional visits Finalize Signatures on Letter - send to Appropriators Special Member Requests Members of the Appropriations Committee submit these to leadership of the Committee Can Include earmarks or general requests Ask about this for members of your delegation that sit on the Appropriations Committee and will not sign our Delegation letter All Leads to: Development of Appropriations Bills The Path of an Appropriations Bill through Congress: The Path of an Appropriations Bill through Congress CONFERENCE Conference Report Approved by House (House Report 103-222) Conference Report Approved by Senate Enrolled bill sent to president for approval (P.L. 103-444) HOUSE SENATE Schick, 1995. The Federal Budget: Politics, Policy, Process Supplemental Appropriations Bills: Supplemental Appropriations Bills In addition to the regular appropriations bills Passed before the President’s annual budget to pay for unanticipated matters occurring in the current fiscal year. For example, Congress passed a supplemental appropriations bill in the fall of 2002 to cover the costs of the September 11th disaster. Other, less dramatic examples of items funded by supplemental appropriations bills include damage due to hurricanes and fishery buybacks. Rescissions: Rescissions To rescind is to take money from an account Can be either initiatives of Congress or a Federal Department/Agency Congressional Example: FY03 -0.065% government-wide Example: FY03 Sea Grant appropriation -$2M in unobligated balances Agency or Department Many forms (reprogramming, deobligation actions) Limited to $500K without Congressional approval Example, reprogramming: FY1999, $125 million was appropriated for the Emergency Oil & Gas Program. Loans totaling less than $5 million were made and DOC requested to reprogram $115 million. Departmental or Agency initiatives must be requested of (approved by) the Appropriations committee “Determining the federal budget is one of the most important political processes of our time.”: “Determining the federal budget is one of the most important political processes of our time.” Thank you! -Bruce MacLaury (Brookings Institution President)
The Federal Budget Process The Federal Budget Process . Sea Grant Week ‘03 . Rick DeVoe, Kola Garber & Jennifer
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