Last week we looked at the effect of the budget shutdown on the grant community.
All finger-pointing aside-there are many factors that got us to this point.
But being solution-oriented real people at MyFedTrainer.com -we thought it might be a good time to review how the budget process was designed to produce an annual federal budget.
As we know from the grant management world, when things are not working correctly, it generally involves a corrective action plan that looks at what how the process should work.
This basic concept seems to be lost in the crisis rhetoric of the moment.
How Is The Budget Process “Supposed” to Work?
As we have described in our Getting Started in Grant Management Course, here is how the United States Budget process is intended to work:
Step One: The President Submits a Budget to Congress
The grant life cycle starts in February, when the President of the United States releases an annual budget for the following fiscal year.
Step Two: Congress Drafts Budget Resolutions and Votes
Congressional committees draft budget resolutions that serve as a spending “blueprint” and set limits on how much each committee can spend.
In the early spring, the Congressional Appropriations Committee meets with subcommittees to review priority requests for allocating funds.
By late spring, Congress votes on appropriation bills.
Step Three: The House and Senate Reconcile the Budget Versions
After the House and Senate Appropriations Committees reconcile the bills, they become the congressional budget for that fiscal year.
In the summer, Congress typically votes on “supplemental” appropriation bills.
These bills are used when additional money is required beyond the approved budget.
Step Four: The Reconciled Budget Goes to the President
In the fall, after the appropriation bills are passed in Congress and reconciled in committee, the congressional budget for the fiscal year is sent to the President.
After the President signs the budget, it becomes approved.
Step Five: Grants Funding Becomes Available
Upon approval, federal funding for grants becomes available.
What Went Wrong?
Does that sound like a far cry from how things are working now?
In fact, the last time the Federal Government passed a budget was April 29, 2009.
The federal government has been funded by a series of continuing resolutions since that time.
As continuing resolutions are intended as short term appropriations bills, is it really any wonder that we seem to bounce from budget crisis to budget crisis?
To learn more-checkout the US Budget Process Framework on wikipedia
Maybe the Federal Government needs a corrective action plan for their own budget process?
How About You?
What’s your experience?
Did the government shutdown affecting your ability to get and manage grants?
Tell us your story in the comments section below.
Lucy Morgan CPA, MBA
CEO, Compliance Warrior
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