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The Budget Process: What is the schedule?

The budget process begins each year with the submission of the president’s budget for the following fiscal year, usually no later than the first Monday in February. The process is slated for completion by June 30, but that almost never happens.

  • Within six weeks following submission of the president’s budget, the various congressional committees are expected to submit reports to the House and Senate budget committees outlining how their spending and revenue proposals will differ from those of the president’s budget.
  • After compiling this information, the budget committees are expected to formulate a concurrent budget resolution by April 15, after which the House Appropriations Committee may begin the appropriations process. If the budget resolution is not passed by May 15, the House Appropriations Committee may begin the appropriations process in its absence.
  • All necessary appropriations bills are supposed to be passed by June 30, but they seldom are. Reconciliation bills that alter tax and entitlement laws are supposed to be completed by June 15.
  • If appropriations are not completed by October 1 - and that is common - federal agencies are funded under continuing resolutions that typically cover spending for only part of a year, but may sometimes be extended to cover the whole fiscal year. These resolutions typically limit spending to last year’s level or to the lower of House or Senate approved spending levels if legislative action has not yet been completed by the whole Congress.
  • Congress successfully passed budget resolutions each year from the first effective year of the process in fiscal 1976 through 1998. The failure to pass a budget resolution has become more common in recent years, as the whole Congress was not able to pass resolutions for fiscal 1999, 2003, 2005, and 2007.
   Entry 3 of 6