Researching the Federal Budget
- Appropriations- Act of Congress that allows a federal entity to incur obligations and make payments from the Treasury Department, usually for a set period of time.
- Authorization- Act of Congress that establishes or continues a federal program.
- Budget Receipts- Money collected from the public, including taxes, court fines, certain licence fees, etc.
- Expenditure- The amount of money actually spent. Expenditures rarely match the actual appropriations for the specific year since some expenditures can include money allocated from previous years' budgets.
- Deficit- The amount where outlays exceed budget receipts.
- Fiscal Year- The accounting year the budget covers. The federal fiscal year starts on October 1 and ends on September 30.
- Obligation- Binding agreement to pay for goods/services/studies/products, etc.
- Outlay- Liquidation or disbursement of cash for an obligation.
- Sequestration- A procedure to cancel funding within the budget, usually because of spending limits. Money that has been sequestrated cannot be used for obligations or outlays.
- Surplus- The amount where budget receipts exceed outlays.
Brief Overview of the Current Federal Budget Process
The budget process starts 12-14 months (or more) prior to start of the fiscal year. In September or October of the prior year, agencies start making requests for funding to the President. On the first monday in February, the President submits several budget documents to Congress. The Congressional Budget Office examines and evaluates the president's budget and issues three main reports during the next few months: Budget and Economic Outlook report in mid-Februrary; Budget Options report in March; and Analysis of the President's Budgetary Proposals in April. During this time, the House and Senate budget committees hold hearings and issue reports for the various appropriations legislation. By the end of June, Congress finishes its actions on the appropriations bills and the President will submit a Mid-Season Budget Review by July 15. The President may also issue sequestrations of the budget at this time. Just like any other piece of legislation, all appropriations bills must be the same when they pass Congress before they are sent to the President. The President must sign the legislation for the budget to become law. If the President does not sign the legislation by October 1 (the start of the fiscal year) the Federal Government can shut down. Once the President signs the bill, the budget takes effect on October 1. The final step in the budget process occurs around December when the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) determines if cuts are needed and the White House Office of Management and Budget estimates how much discressionary spending is available.
Budget of the United States Government
The President's budget proposal based on estimates from the previous year's budget and requests from agencies, issued on the first Monday of February.
- DREF HJ2051.A6 Govt/Stat (Latest)
- MAIN HJ2051.A6 (1936-)
Budget of the United States Goverment, Appendix
Includes much more detail than the Budget of the United States Government, including funding for each agency and office within the agency.
- DREF HJ2051.A6 Appendix Govt/Stat (Latest)
- MAIN HJ2051.A6 Appendix (1963-)
Budget of the United States Government, Analytical Perspectives
Provides analyses on specified subject areas or provides other significant presentations of budget data that place the budget in perspective.
- DREF HJ2051.A5957 Govt/Stat (Latest)
- MAIN HJ2051.A5957 (1994/95-)
Budget of the United States Government, Historical Tables
Provides historical information on various appropriations and expenditures with some tables going back to the 1920's.
- DREF HJ2051.A5956 Govt/Stat (Latest)
- MAIN HJ2051.A5956, (1985/86-1989/90, 1993/94-2005/06-)
Economic Report of the President
Reports federal budget receipts, outlays, surpluses and deficits. Some tables go back to 1929.
- DREF HC106.5.A28 Govt/Stat (Latest)
- MAIN HC106.5.A28 (1950-)
An Analysis of the President's Budgetary Proposals for Fiscal Year
From the Congressional Budget Office, evaluates the economic assumptions and budget estimates and presents possible alternative estimates.
- DREF HJ2051.U54a Govt/Stat (Latest)
- MAIN HJ2051.U54a (1978/79-1980/81, 1982/83-1992/93, 1994/95-1995/96, 1997/98-1999/2000, 2001/02-)
Financial Report of the United States
Similar to company's annual report, the Financial Report of the United States provides an overall view of the government's financial health, including future projections. From 1998-
Appropriations, Budget Estimates, etc...[CD only]
CD containing all the final appropriations bills and budget estimates for each session of Congress. Please note that a session of Congress lasts two years.
- Doe Ref HJ2050.U543b (1995/96-)
Current Status of Appropriations Bills
From the Library of Congress, shows the current status as the appropriations bill moves through Congress, from 1998-
Maintained by the Senate Library, legislative histories of Approprations Bills, from 1992-
Provides receipts by source for the last five years and last 12 months by agency.
- MAIN HJ10.A55 (July 1945-June 1963, July 1965-1992, June 1993-1994)
- GREF ASI Microfiche 8002-4 (MICROFICHE 1251)
- MICROFICHE 25332 (1993-Mar 2000)
Combined Statement of Receipts, Outlays, and Balances of the United States Government
The official publication of receipts and outlays for the fiscal year, from 2001-. Previously called the United States Government Annual Report.
- MAIN HJ10.A6 (1983/84-1984/85, 1986/87-1987/88, 1995/96 appendix)
Government Accountability Office Reports
Previously known as the General Accounting Office, the GAO is the "investigative arm of Congress," and studies how federal money is spent.
Statistical Abstract of the United States
Brief tables of expenditures, outlays and budget receipts can be found in the chapter Budgets and Finance (exact chapter title may vary).
- GREF HA203.A3 (1878-)