How the Federal Budget Is Created

The President submits a budget proposal to Congress in early February. This sets the framework for budget negotiations.

House and Senate Budget Committees hold hearings to examine the President's proposals.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provides budget and economic data to assist Congress.

House and Senate pass budget resolutions that set overall spending limits for the year.

House and Senate Appropriations Committees divide spending among 12 subcommittees.

The subcommittees hold hearings and draft appropriations bills to fund discretionary programs.

The House and Senate vote on the appropriations bills and reconcile differences.

Congress tries to pass appropriations bills by October 1st, the start of the fiscal year.

If spending bills are not passed in time, Congress may pass a continuing resolution to temporarily fund the government.

The President signs each appropriations bill and the budget becomes law.