A Quaker Lobby in the Public Interest
The Budget Process for the Fiscal Year 2010
New Budget Proposal
In late February, 2009, the president will present Congress with his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2010 (FY10). Because this is a transition year and the president has only been in office about a month, the FY10 budget proposal will be an outline, or “budget blueprint”. The president will release a more detailed budget proposal in late April or early May 2009 to help direct the Appropriations Committees.
Immediately following the release of the president’s proposal, the House and Senate Budget Committees meet to consider major categories of spending and propose a budget resolution for their respective chambers to approve. By the spring, both the House and Senate must pass their respective budget resolutions. The budget resolution names a ceiling for “discretionary spending,” which is the amount available to Congress for all of its appropriations bills.
Each chamber has an appropriations committee with twelve subcommittees. After Congress sets the ceiling for discretionary spending, each subcommittee allocates funds to specific federal agencies and programs under its authority. For instance, the Labor, Health and Human Services Subcommittee allocates funds for the Department of Education and the National Institute on Occupational Safety and Health. Once a subcommittee agrees on its appropriation bill, the bill must be approved by the full appropriation committee and then the full House or Senate. That’s why, in a classic world, twelve appropriations bills are considered by each chamber, agreed upon, and signed by the president.
For a fuller explanation of the three stages of budget work, see The Federal Budget, A Congressional Performance in Three Acts.
How You Can Direct the Appropriation Process
Step One: Find out whether your representative or one of your senators serves on an appropriations committee.
Step Two: If one of your senators or your representative is on an appropriations subcommittee, you have a special opportunity to lobby them about the particular programs assigned to them. Use your special chance: stay in touch with them throughout the process (about January to July).
|If you are concerned about:||Stay in touch with members of these appropriations sub-committees:|
|Military spending, conventional weapons, funds for wars in Iraq, Afghanistan.|| Defense Committee and |
and Military Construction, Veterans’ Affairs, and Related Agencies
|Nuclear weapons, nuclear waste||Energy and Water Development|
|Peaceful prevention of deadly conflict, conflict resolution, reconstruction, diplomatic services||State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs|
|International aid, education and cultural exchange programs||State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs|
|Contributions to international organizations||State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs|
|Energy programs||Energy and Water Development|
|Environmental protection||Interior, Environment and Related Agencies|
|Immigration, border patrol||Homeland Security|
|Disaster Assistance Loans; Emergency Food and Shelter||Homeland Security|
|Native American Affairs||Interior, Environment and Related Agencies|
|Nutrition programs: food stamps, food banks, school lunches, food for elderly, WIC program, etc||Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies|
|Education programs – elementary to college||Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), Education, and Related Agencies|
|Health care and health research (other than Medicaid and Medicare, which are funded as entitlements)||Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies|
|Social Services (child care, elder care, child support enforcement, community programs, etc. )||Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies|
|Employment training, displaced worker programs, etc.||Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies|
|Affordable housing||Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies (HUD)|