Evolution of the Budget Process


This report seeks to describe the formulation process of a budget in the United States. The focus has been placed on the fundamental aspects of organizations engaging the executive and the legislative arms of government. Government budgets are guided and stipulated by a set of rules making the entire process seem and feel complicated (Lee et al., 2012). A budget is an essential tool that requires adequate planning and oversight process since it relates to a government’s spending and revenue (Larson & Gray, 2013). The selection of the topic emanated from the availed learning objectives. This followed after a choice of a crucial topic of interest related to the budget process. The description would entail a step-to-step process that was kick-started from the executive to Congress and adopted.


The early years saw the utilization of practices and procedures regarding the enactment, execution, and consideration of legislative discussions on the budgetary issues evolving to meet shifting circumstances and needs. This period was essential since the employed framework relating to implementing decisions on budget was outlined. In the 19th century, Congress undertook vital actions to incorporate the control and exercise over money spent by the federal agencies. The onset of the 20th century saw the enactment of the 1921 budget and accounting act, which formulated a statutory function for the President to receive budgets and submit them to Congress (Saturno, 2020). Necessary changes that included mandatory spending and the enactment in 1974 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act have a provision for Congress (Saturno, 2020). Congress had to decide on the matter relating to the priorities and fiscal policies and the formulated Senate, House, and Congress budgetary Committees. This has witnessed budgetary decisions to various statutes designed by Congress to implement the outcomes (Saturno, 2020). This gradual process has been the brain behind the budgetary process being witnessed in the U.S.

In the early years of the legislative discussion in Congress, the U.S formulated and enacted laws to prevent overspending. Planning on how to spend resources is essential and accrues to the budget-making process (Larson & Gray, 2013). The process entails a complex and tedious process encompassing the participation of the legislative and executive arms of the government (Saturno, 2020). The process of formulating, passing, and adopting a budget follows a series of steps.

This process is essential for the health of the U.S since it tends to decide the amount of money to be induced in a particular sector in each fiscal year. The U.S budget is crucial in ensuring it provides a national impact. It is formulated under the constitution by Congress to support and raise the sector it seeks to support (Ríos et al., 2014). The composition and size of the budget for the defense sector would affect the economic health of the U.S, and the degree of spending is majorly an issue to be debated since it possesses a matter of national interest. This results in reviewing and approval by Congress since the whole process is complex and the incorporated facts entail baffling procedures and terminologies.

The budget process entails a tiresome and complex set of practices that require the executive and legislative arms of the U.S government. This means the process would take a long period and series of planning for it to be completed and the budget to be placed into effect (Larson & Gray, 2013). The evolution of the budgetary decision-making process dramatically influenced the framework to which the policies of the steps have strictly adhered and conformed. The budgetary process includes the budgets from the President, Congress, appropriation, implementation, auditing, and reviewing. It consists of the government’s spending, revenue, borrowing, and debt.

Literature Review

The U.S House and Senate can decide on their own rules safeguarding their proceedings. Therefore, the development practices and procedures are required in enabling the enactment and consideration of the legislation process (Saturno, 2020). Similarly, statutory authority is allowed by Congress after being issued by federal agencies. Congress will have the power over undertaking the oversight role on these regulations and measurement done of the federal regulation jurisdictions (Congressional Research Service, 2019). The availability of rules and regulations that are essential to guarding Congress in the budgetary is necessary to avoid failing to consider the relevant measures appropriate for the conclusion of the entire process.

Budgeting is essential since it seeks to ensure there is allocation of limited resources among the public’s competing demands to attain an objective and goal within a society. A responsible government seeks to provide a budget geared towards a cycle allowing for absorption and responding to arising information, therefore, ensuring accountability of an institution in place (Lee et al., 2012). This was done to ensure the budgetary process has fully orchestrated the contribution of others for successful social and technical skills to be effective in the implementation phase (Gosling, 2006). This encompasses the delegation of the authority to make laws to the federal agencies by Congress with specific needs being established (Congressional Research Service, 2019). Incorporating many parties in the budgetary process is essential to ensure thorough scrutiny and evaluation have been conducted to ensure the presented budget is worthy of being implemented.

The majority of the budgetary process emanates from permanent aspects despite being dependent on the featured annual calendar. The executive is required to submit a request for the budget to Congress earlier within the legislative process. The submission seeks to enquire about the direction that the national priorities and policies have to take to influence the decision of Congress regarding spending and revenue (Saturno, 2020). The President possesses a fundamental responsibility at the federal level to affect significant alterations to the budget while the government’s budget is submitted to the legislative level (Lee et al., 2012). The government budget heavily relies on the executive, who seems to kick-start the entire process for the legislative level to scrutinize and evaluate the provision adequately.


This section addresses the request of the budget cycle, which entails the President for the annual budgetary process, resolution from the Congress, the enforcement of the terms of the plan in the Senate and the House, reconciliation, and deficit-statutory control steps.

President’s Request for the Budget

The process is initiated when the President submits to Congress within the legislative section. This is a request to Congress and does not mean the recommendations included therein have to be adopted (Gosling, 2006). This proposal is likely to influence Congress’s spending and revenue decisions despite the varying yearly extent due to the fiscal and political factors rather than the budget’s legal status (Congressional Research Service, 2019). The constitution fails to provide the budget relating to the federal government’s spending and revenue (Rubin, 2014). Despite the amendments which followed, the legality of the presidential budget only defines its content, definition, and the agencies associated with the process.

The President’s budget preparation strictly starts during the spring. The earlier stages are accomplished by the federal agencies working under the office to manage the budget based within a branch in the executive. The office receives submissions from various agencies in the summer before a review of each is performed (Calcagno, 2018). The office submits its recommendation to the agencies at the end of the year before the scheduled publication occurs in January. The budget proposal is released in February, and Congress is tasked with making the same using the historical programs and trend information.

Congress Budgetary Process

The congress budgetary process begins just after the President’s proposal’s release has been successfully submitted. The main focus is making an establishment of resolutions from the earlier budgets. The resolution is sought to aid Congress in device a mechanism for considering the revenue and spending (Gosling, 2006). The senate and the House representative budgetary committees are expected to produce a formal report of the budget resolution. If it manages to pass on the floor of both houses, it possesses similar rules (Rubin, 2014). They are provided with a time limit that they strive not to miss, but the deadline has been surpassed in various instances (Calcagno, 2018). The resolution made on the budget yields an aggregate level with limits on discretional spending and subcommittees’ appropriation allocations.


The decisions on discretional spending by the budgetary resolution committee are formulated through the annual process of appropriations. The appropriations committees from the House and the Senate possess the jurisdiction over discretional spending as the individually constituted commissions make an oversight regarding direct spending (Gosling, 2006). The President, the appropriation request, finds support from the federal agencies availing material aid to the appeal. The process emanates from the House despite being an exclusive power of the legislative. Similarly, the appropriation bill seeks support from the subcommittees before the voting is done in the House or the Senate (Calcagno, 2018). The considered measures of appropriations include regular, continuing, and supplemental.

Budget Reconciliation

The reconciliation is applicable by Congress to ensure conformity between the existing budgetary resolutions and the policies on spending and revenue. It is essential since it facilitates the changing of budget outlays of concurrent laws. Changes have been made to the reconciliation process by Congress to allow it to focus on reducing the deficit (Rubin, 2014). The resolution process begins from budgetary included instructions to committees’ reports regarding the taxation and laws on entitlement programs. The office of Congress responsible for reconciliation applies a dollar value to act as a baseline which may alter the existing laws if changed (Gosling, 2006). A proposed change by any of the involved committees from the House or the Senate would prompt the need for a combined legislative change in conformity with the proposed fluctuations. There is an adopted technique by the Senate disallowing provisions failing to concur with a reduction in the deficit (Calcagno, 2018). On the other hand, the House does not possess any technique but has options that allow for amendments failing to affect the reduction of revenue or spending.


In conclusion, the U.S budgetary process has evolved from its early years to date. Despite the process being recurrent annually, it forms an integral functional unit of spending and revenue collection. The dynamics and parties evolved within the entire cycle seek to ensure the process has been strategically planned and executed to ensure the smooth operations of the government (Larson & Gray, 2013). The draft presented by the executive to the legislative requires assessment, review, and approval before it is put to functionality. Both the House and the Senate committees work independently when reviewing, altering, and presenting their recommendations on the provision of the budget.


In summary, the budget-making process has evolved and made great advancements in the present. The changing laws and regulations being employed by the committees of both houses act as evidence of this assertion. The President seems to be the initiator of the process before it is assessed by different groups being incorporated to ensure the process has been successfully accomplished and adopted.


Calcagno, P. (2018). The evolution of federal budget rules and the effects on fiscal policy: How informal norms have trumped formal constraints. SSRN Electronic Journal. Web.

Congressional Research Service. (2019). Counting regulations: An overview of rulemaking, types of federal regulations, and pages in the federal register. Congressional Research Service. Web.

Gosling, J. J. (2006). Budgetary politics in American governments. Routledge.

Larson, E., & Gray, C. (2013). Project Management: The Managerial Process. McGraw-Hill Companies.

Lee Jr, R. D., Johnson, R. W., & Joyce, P. G. (2012). Public budgeting systems. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Ríos, A., Bastida, F., & Benito, B. (2014). Budget transparency and legislative budgetary oversight. The American Review of Public Administration, 46(5), 546-568. Web.

Rubin, I. (2014). The politics of public budgeting: Getting and spending, borrowing and balancing (7th ed.). CQ Press.

Saturno, J. V. (2020). Introduction to the federal budget process. Congressional Research Service, 1-38. Web.

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