Skip to content
  ETA Home / BUDGET /  

Budget Process

The steps in the Federal Budget Process are: Formulation of the President's Budget, Congressional Budget Process, Execution of Enacted Budget, Review and Audit.

Formulation of the President's Budget

(begins 19 months before Fiscal Year)

Budget Policy Development

  • President, with assistance from Office of Management and Budget (OMB) establishes general budget and fiscal policy guidelines. (March)
  • Based on President's decisions, OMB gives federal agencies instructions for budget preparation, along with budget ceilings and economic assumptions. (April)

Compilation and Submission of Agency Estimates

  • ETA submits budget request to Department of Labor (DOL) Budget Office, based on OMB instructions.
  • DOL reviews/makes determinations on ETA/other DOL agencies' budget requests.
  • DOL submits initial budget request to OMB. (1st week in September)

Office of Management and Budget Review and Presidential Decisions

  • OMB prepares major issues/options for consideration/determination by President, based on agency requests.
  • OMB reviews agency budgets, holds hearings with agencies, gives "passback" decisions to agencies, and makes decisions on agency appeals.
  • Federal agencies prepare final budget materials for President's Budget and Congressional committee hearings. (December-January)

Submittal to Congress

  • President transmits full budget to Congress . (15 days after Congress convenes in January prior to upcoming Fiscal Year)

Congressional Budget Process

(begins 10 1/2 months before Fiscal Year)

Development of Budget Targets

  • Congressional budget committees report first concurrent budget resolution. (April 15)
  • Congress completes action on first concurrent budget resolution. (May 15)
  • Congress adopts second concurrent budget resolution, which sets spending and revenue and other budget ceilings for the upcoming Fiscal Year. (September 15)

Action on Individual Bills

  • Congressional appropriations subcommittees begin to review budget justifications and hold hearings with each federal agency and draft appropriation bills and reports. (beginning in March)
  • President provides Congress with mid-session update of budget estimates.  (July 15)

Enactment of Appropriations

  • Congress completes action on appropriations/spending bills. (after Labor Day)
  • Appropriation bills are sent to the President for approval or veto.
  • If action on bills is not completed by September 30 or Congress fails to override a Presidential veto of appropriation bills, Congress enacts continuing resolution.


  • Congress completes action on budget reconciliation bill so that budget totals for enacted legislation conforms with budget targets in the second concurrent budget resolution.

Execution of Enacted Budget

(during Fiscal Year)

Funds Made Available

  • On approval of an appropriation bill, an appropriation warrant is drawn by the Department of Treasury and forwarded to the appropriate federal agencies.
  • ETA prepares a request to OMB for apportionment.  (By August 21 or 10 days after approval of the appropriation bill, whichever is later)
  • OMB makes the apportionment.  (By September 10 or 30 days after the approval of the apportionment, whichever is later)

Control over Funds

  • ETA allots apportioned funds to various programs/activities.
  • ETA obligates money, receives and uses goods and services.
  • ETA makes periodic reports to OMB on the status of funds and use of funds in relation to program plans.

Expenditure of Funds

  • ETA prepares and certifies vouchers and invoices for payment.
  • Treasury issues checks and reports on financial transactions.

Review and Audit

(beyond Fiscal Year)

  • ETA reviews and evaluates compliance and performance accomplishment and effectiveness of policies, plans and operations.
  • OMB reviews agency operations and evaluates programs and performance. Conducts or guides agencies in organization and management studies. Assists President in improving management and organization of the Executive Branch.
  • The Government Accountability Office (GAO) performs independent audits of agency financial records, transactions, and financial management, generally. "Settles" accounts of certifying and disbursing officers. Makes reports to Congress.