Federal Budget and Appropriations Process

Timeline and Actions You Can Take

This is the general framework and timeline that Congress tries to follow.

FIRST MONDAY IN FEBRUARY
The president submits a budget to Congress. This document highlights the administration’s priorities and sets the tone for congressional debate.

FEBRUARY-MARCH
House and Senate Budget Committees hold hearings on the budget and determine how much can be spent. Ultimately, they will create a budget resolution that creates a broad framework for spending.

  • Action Items: Meet with your Members of Congress and educate them about the importance of the federal nutrition programs. If you have a member on the House or Senate Budget Committees, ask them to support nutrition funding. If you don’t, you can still ask your Senators and Representative to weigh in with members of the Budget Committee about protecting and improving funding for nutrition programs.

APRIL 15
The deadline for Congress to finalize its budget resolution.

MAY-JULY
The House and Senate Appropriations Committees begin to meet and hold hearings. Each appropriations subcommittee must pass a bill to designate funding levels for specific programs and projects.

  • Action Items: If you have a member on the Appropriations Committee, ask them to support nutrition funding. If you don’t, you can still ask your Senators and Representative to weigh in with members of the Appropriations Committee about the need to support funding for nutrition programs.

AUGUST
Members of Congress return to their districts to meet with constituents during the August recess.

  • Action Items: Take advantage of your home field advantage and invite your Members of Congress to visit a nutrition program in their state or district. This is a great opportunity to show the nutrition programs in action and how they make a difference for the community.

SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER
September 30 marks both the end of the fiscal year and the deadline to pass funding bills. Congress must enact a Continuing Resolution (CR) if it fails to meet this deadline. A CR allows the government to continue temporarily operating at the previous year’s funding levels.

  • Action Items: Continue to weigh in with your Members of Congress – both on and off the Appropriations Committee – about the need to support nutrition programs.