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Understanding the Budget Process

Timetable of the Federal Budget Process

The executive budget process is a complex set of activities that includes formulation of the President’s budget, interaction with Congress, and execution of the budget. While some of the activities are required by specific dates, many follow a more flexible schedule established by formal and informal rules and procedures. The Table below provides a timetable of the major steps in the executive budget process.  Title III of the Congressional Budget Act establishes a specific timetable for the congressional budget process. These deadlines are also flexible to accommodate the legislative scheduling priorities of the House and Senate Majority Leadership.




Calendar year prior to the year which fiscal year begins


Office of Management & Budget (OMB) issues planning guidance to executive agencies for the budget beginning October 1st of the following year.

Spring and Summer

Agencies begin development of budget requests.


OMB issues annual update to Circular A-11, providing detailed instructions for submitting budget data and material for agency.


Agencies submit initial budget requests to OMB.


OMB staff review agency budget requests in relation to President’s priorities, program performance, and budget.


Based on recommendations by the Director of OMB, the President makes decisions on agency requests. OMB informs agencies of decisions, commonly referred to as OMB “passback.”


Agencies may appeal these decisions to the Director of OMB and in some cases to the President.

Calendar year in which fiscal year begins

By first Monday in February

President submits budget to Congress. The President’s proposal sets the total amount of money that will be available for the budget.

February 15th

Congressional Budget Office submits report to Budget Committees.

Not later than 6 weeks after President submits budget

Committees submit views and estimates to Budget Committees. (Frequently, the House Budget Committee sets own date based on Legislative Calendar.)

April 1st

Senate Budget Committee reports concurrent resolution on the budget.

April 15th

Congress completes action on the concurrent resolution on the budget. (This is not signed by the President.)

May 15th

Annual appropriation bills may be considered in the House.

June 10th

House Appropriations Committee reports last annual appropriation bill.

June 15th

Congress completes action on reconciliation legislation. (If required by the budget resolution.)

June 30th

House completes action on annual appropriation bills.

By July 15th

President submits mid-session review to Congress.

August 21st (Or within 10 days after approval of a spending bill

Agencies submit apportionment requests to OMB for each budget account.

September 10th (Or within 30 days after approval of a spending bill)

OMB apportions available funds to agencies by time period, program, project, or activity.

October 1st

Fiscal year begins.

Calendar years in which fiscal year begins and ends


Agencies make allotments, obligate funds, conduct activities, and request supplemental appropriations (if necessary). President may propose supplemental appropriations and impoundments to Congress.

September 30th

Fiscal year ends.


Sources: The Executive Budget Process Timetable, CRS Report to Congress available at; House Committee on Rules available at
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