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By My3Sons_NJ

Budgetary process for US departments

The U.S. federal budget details the overall funding and spending restrictions each of the departments will receive over the course of a fiscal year, which runs from October 1st of the current year to September 30th of the following year. The federal budget initially starts as a budget resolution between the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate concerning the overall amount of money to be spent over the course of a fiscal year. The president is not involved during the initial budget resolution process, as the U.S. Constitution explicitly grants the 'power of the purse' solely to Congress in Article I, Section 9. Once the budget resolution is approved, individual spending bills are written and either signed into law by the president or vetoed.

The process of appropriating money for each of the U.S. departments begins with the submission of his budget request to Congress for the following fiscal year as required by the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921[1]. Current law requires the president to submit a new budget no earlier than the first Monday in January and no later than the first Monday in February[2]. However, this law has been ignored at times by many of the recent U.S. Presidents, including the current president, Barack Obama, who submitted the budget for the 2016 fiscal year on March 4, 2015. Once the president's budget is received by Congress, the U.S. House and Senate must agree on a budget resolution using data and analysis provided by the U.S. Treasury and other government agencies. Once Congress agrees on a budget resolution, appropriation bills can be considered although U.S. "House rules allow the House to begin considering appropriation bills after May 15 whether a budget resolution has been agreed to or not"[3].

After a budget resolution has been agreed upon by both houses of Congress, the House and Senate Appropriation Committees begin the process of drafting budgetary legislation. "The House and Senate Appropriation Committees currently have 12 subcommittees which are responsible for drafting the 12 regular appropriation bills that determine amounts of discretionary spending for various Federal programs"[4]. Once the legislation is written and passed through subcommittee, it is voted on by all members of both houses of Congress. If the legislation passes Congress, it goes to the desk of the U.S. President to be either signed into law or vetoed and returned back to Congress for further revision.

The budgetary appropriation for each of the various U.S. Departments for the 2014 fiscal year are shown below[5] (all numbers are in billions of U.S. dollars):
– "National Defense including Overseas Contingency Operations: 620.562"

– "International Affairs: 48.472"

– "General Science, Space and Technology: 28.718"

– "Energy: 13.375"

– "Natural Resources and Environment: 39.102"

– "Agriculture: 22.659"

– "Transportation: 95.519"

– "Community and Regional Development: 33.305"

– "Education, Training, Employment and Social Services: 100.460"

– "Health: 450.795"

– "Veterans Benefits and Services: 151.165"

– "Administration of Justice: 53.102"

– "General Government: 22.407"

Many of these appropriations are applicable for a single department, such as in the case of the Transportation Department, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Defense. However, there are funds that are more general in nature and not specifically designated for a particular department. Furthermore, a significant portion of the U.S. budget is considered to be entitlement spending and is spending outside the appropriations for the various U.S. departments. "Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid expenditures are funded by more permanent Congressional appropriations and so are considered mandatory spending"[6]. The outlays for Medicare and Social Security mandatory expenditures are shown below:[7]

– "Medicare: 519.027"

-" Social Security: 857.319"

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