Budget and Appropriations Process
 
 


  

 

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THE BUDGET & APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS :: The budget process significantly affects contracting opportunities for small businesses.  Each year, Congress decides where the Federal government will spend money to purchase goods and services from the private sector.  Savvy small business owners are well advised to keep track of the budget and appropriations process because it provides early clues on how agencies expect to spend their discretionary funds in the coming fiscal year. This page provides links to key budget information sources.  
 
o Budget News.  Visit the Yahoo! tax and budget news pages to track news articles about the Federal budget and appropriations process.   This site links to several excellent sources including the Washington Post, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and USA Today.
 
o Current Status of Appropriations Bills.  Hosted by the Library of Congress, this web site tracks Congressional activity on the thirteen appropriations bills that must be passed into law each year.  Information is presented in an easy to use chart format.  The current chart tracks appropriations for FY 2003. 
  
o Interactive Map.  Use this map hosted by the White House to see how the President's Budget Affects Your State.
 
o The Tax Foundation.  Hosted by the Tax Foundation, this web site presents a breakdown of the Bush tax plan and its effects on individuals, families, state governments, and the economy as a whole.
 
o Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  The role of the Office of Management and Budget is to assist the President in preparing the budget, and also to assist in the process of budget administration.  At this web site, you will find the complete collection of budget publications and presidential economic reports beginning in FY 1996.   Also of key interest are the OMB's circulars, financial management reports and policy statements.
 
o OMB: A Citizen's Guide to the Federal Budget   This publication is an invaluable resource for learning about the budget process.  Updated on an annual basis, it explains such key concepts as mandatory versus discretionary spending; budget authority versus budget outlay; and surplus versus deficit.  It also includes a helpful glossary of budget terms.
 
o OMB: Budget Publications (FY 1996-Forward).  The  Budget Publications present budget details as transmitted by the President to Congress in February each year.  Congress uses these documents to arrive at its own budget, which ultimately goes back to the President to be signed into law. 
 
o U.S. Senate: Committee on the Budget.  The Senate Budget Committee drafts the Senate's budget and oversees hearings, studies and other activities towards fulfilling the Senate's role in developing the national budget.  Among the core functions of the Senate Budget Committee are the analysis of the President's budget, and the coordination of a budget resolution with the House of Representatives.  Also on the Senate Budget Committee's web site is an Explanation of the Budget Process, as well as a Glossary of Budget Terms.
 
o U.S. House of Representatives: Committee on the Budget.  The House Budget Committee drafts the House's budget and oversees hearings, studies and other activities towards fulfilling the House's role in developing the national budget.  Among the core functions of the House Budget Committee are the analysis of the President's budget, and the coordination of a budget resolution with the Senate.
 
o Congressional Budget Office.  Created by authority of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Act of 1974, the CBO's role is to provide Congress with the information it needs in developing, managing, analyzing and evaluating the national budget.  Much of the CBO's work has to do with budgetary "scorekeeping." The CBO is also responsible for producing the annual economic forecast. 
 
o Principles of Federal Appropriations Law.  Prepared by the General Accounting Office, this publication comes in three volumes (PDF format only).  It discusses the statutes and regulations governing appropriations matters, as well as significant issues on appropriations law addressed by the Comptroller General and the courts.  Advanced reading.  Volume I; Volume II; Volume III.
 
o Budget Process: Evolution and Challenges.  This 1996 GAO Report discusses how the budget process evolved into what it is today, and examines the challenges Congress faces in changing the process to make it more user friendly. and Text formats.
 
o usbudget.com.  "An internet-based intelligence and consulting service that provides a unique and powerful set of resources for examining federal budget and appropriations developments."  Requires subscription.
 
o More Budget Information Resources.  There are numerous governmental and non-governmental organizations that provide information and analysis on the budgetary process via the Web.  These organizations provide statistical and anecdotal information, as well as professional insight on key issues that drive the budget policy and implementation debate from year to year.  
 

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