Federal Budget Process Training: An Essential Guide

The federal budget process involves several key stages, each of which plays a vital role in ensuring that government funds are appropriately allocated and spent. These stages are:

Budget Formulation: This initial phase involves the preparation of the budget by the Executive Branch. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) provides guidelines to federal agencies, which then submit their budget requests. The President’s budget proposal is usually submitted to Congress in early February.

Budget Resolution: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reviews the President’s budget, and Congress develops a budget resolution. This resolution sets the framework for government spending and revenue levels but does not require the President’s signature.

Budget Authorization and Appropriations: After the budget resolution, Congress authorizes specific programs and determines funding levels. Appropriations bills, which must be passed by Congress and signed by the President, allocate the actual funds to government agencies and programs.

Budget Execution: Federal agencies implement the budget by obligating funds and making expenditures. This phase involves significant oversight to ensure that funds are used in accordance with the law.

Budget Auditing and Review: The Government Accountability Office (GAO) and agency inspectors general conduct audits and reviews to ensure compliance with budgetary laws and regulations. This phase helps identify any misuse of funds and areas for improvement.
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Federal Budget Process Training: An Essential Guide