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Federal Budget Process. Steve Kidd and Allison Boehm Budget and Program Analysis Staff April 2009. Constitutional Law. Article 1, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution:

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Federal budget process l.jpg

Federal Budget Process

Steve Kidd and Allison Boehm

Budget and Program Analysis Staff

April 2009

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Constitutional Law

Article 1, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution:

“No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

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Purpose of the Budget

  • Request permission to spend government funds.

  • Control spending to an approved level.

  • Establish accountability.

  • Analyze performance plans.

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Federal Budget Process - Three Stages

  • Budget Formulation – creation of the President’s Budget.

  • Budget Justification – presenting and justifying the Budget to Congress.

  • Budget Execution – spending funds in accordance with Congressional intent.

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Budget Process Timeline

  • Budget Formulation

    • 2 years prior

  • Budget Justification

    • 1 year prior

  • Budget Execution

    • Current year

It takes 2 years to get an appropriation!

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Phase 1: Budget Formulation

  • President

    • Sets policy through the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

  • Department of Agriculture

    • Sets priorities through strategic plan.


    • Also sets strategic priorities.

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Formulation Overview

  • Program Planning and Budgeting

    • Starts in March each year.

  • Agency Request

    • Due to the Department in early July.

  • Departmental Feedback

    • Received in late summer.

  • OMB Allowance

    • Received in late November/early December.

  • President’s Budget

    • Due to Congress the first Monday of February.

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USDA/OMB Concerns

  • What is the problem the request is trying to fix?

  • What is the Federal government’s role in fixing the problem?

  • What is the impact of the increase on performance?

  • Are alternative proposals more effective?

  • What are cooperators doing to help us achieve the goals?

  • What is the economic value of the effort?

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President’s Budget

  • By law, the Budget is submitted to Congress the first Monday in February.

  • APHIS submits supporting material along with all USDA agencies – “Explanatory Notes.”

  • Justification begins.

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Phase 2: Justification

APHIS prepares materials to defend the President’s Budget.

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Congressional Appropriations Structure

House & Senate Committees



Committee on Appropriations

13 Subcommittees

Committee on Appropriations

13 Subcommittees

Agriculture, Rural Development, Food & Drug Administration, & Related Agencies.

Agriculture, Rural Development, & Related Agencies

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Phase 2: Justification

  • House and Senate Appropriations Sub-Committees hold hearings.

  • APHIS answers “Questions for the Record.”

  • APHIS received more than 300 questions last year.

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What is Congress interested in?

  • Spending in individual members’ States.

  • Funds provided to individual members’ States (through cooperative agreements).

    How do we get the information?

  • Geographic Report (provided by APHIS programs with input from Agreements Specialists).

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House Floor

Senate Floor

Full Approps. Committee

Full Approps. Committee

Sub-Committee on Agriculture

Sub-Committee on Agriculture

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If the Bill’s not signed by Oct. 1…. law.

  • Continuing Resolution

    • Interim appropriation.

    • Sets funding at the prior year level.

    • Gets extended until an appropriation act takes its place.

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Phase 3: Execution law.

  • APHIS gets an appropriation.

  • Apportionment Process (OMB officially transfers funds to USDA/APHIS).

  • Allocation Process (Agency gives programs authority to spend funds).

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Phase 3: Execution, cont. law.

  • “Those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account--to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day…”

    --President Obama

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APHIS Cooperative Agreements law.

In FY 2008, APHIS had approximately $1.2 billion in budget authority from all funding sources.

47 percent of spending in FY 2008 was for salaries and benefits.

APHIS obligated over $217 (or about 18 percent) million of its FY 2008 budget for cooperative agreements.

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Recent Audit Finding law.

A recent audit of USDA indicated a material weakness.

High unliquidated balances of obligations.

A Secretary Priority.

Each USDA Agency Administrator is held accountable for ensuring low levels of unliquidated balances.

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Audit Finding Impact law.

A significant portion of APHIS’ discretionary spending is cooperative agreements.

Considerable number of obligations from prior years remain unliquidated.

Unliquidated obligations in cooperative agreements for prior years may impact future funding decisions.

Increased need for cooperators to submit requests for payment in a timely manner.

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Budget Outlook and Affect law.

Current outlook is for flat budget.

APHIS will look to stretch resources.

Look to effective spending.

Timely reporting and billing.

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FY 2009 Omnibus law.

  • The FY 2009 Omnibus provides $877 million for APHIS salaries and expenses.

FY 2010 President’s Budget

  • The FY 2010 request for APHIS salaries and expenses is $872 million.