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Saturday, June 15
The Indiana Daily Student

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Inside the federal budget process

Less than a week after the State of the Union address, President Barack Obama’s new federal budget request is expected to be released today. The budget will determine spending for the fiscal year 2011, starting Oct. 1 of this year and ending Sept. 30, 2012.

The federal budget process is a carefully orchestrated act between the executive and legislative branches. Obama completed the first step by submitting his budget proposal to Congress today. Next, the budget committees in both the Senate and the House will meet and draft budget resolutions by early April. Appropriations subcommittees in both houses – the groups within larger committees that focus on spending – often have hearings to gather more information during this time.

By May, the budget resolutions prepared by the committees have been adopted in the House and the Senate. From then on, the appropriations subcommittees work from July to August drafting and revising their appropriations bills until finally the House and Senate both pass versions of the bills. After the two houses work out the differences in the bills in conference committee, they are sent to the president to be signed
in September.

This year’s budget proposal is especially contentious after the president’s speech promised a freeze in non-security discretionary spending. This appears to be an effort to help tackle the issue of the budget deficit – on which the deputy director for the administration’s Office of Management and Budget claims that “by the middle of the decade, non-security discretionary spending will fall to its lowest share of the economy in 50 years.”

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