Congressional Budget

Within congressional budgeting, there were traditionally two main processes: authorizations and appropriations. Which do you think is more important and why?

The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 gave Congress more time to work on the budget by pushing the start of the fiscal year forward from July 1 to October 1. It also created new committees in each house and created a new process. Each chamber of Congress analyses the President’s budget proposal and drafts a budget resolution setting overall spending levels. A Conference committee of House and Senate members resolves differences between the two plans to create a final version that each chamber votes on. In general, funds for federal government programs must be authorized by an “authorization committee” through enactment of legislation. Then, through subsequent acts by Congress, budget authority is appropriated by the Appropriations Committee of the House.

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Authorizations- create programs and put limits on how much money they can spend. (Kettl, D.F.)

Appropriations- commit money for spending, appropriations fund authorizations. (Kettl, D.F.)

Based on the definition of what authorizations and appropriations is in relation to the Congressional Budget I would have to say appropriations is essential for authorizations to be funded fairly. Appropriations create the funding for the programs created by the authorization committee. Authorizations are important to create limits on the amount of money that can be used for each program created within a fiscal year budget which creates balance and fairness but wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the appropriation of funds.


Kettl, D. F. (2018) “Politics of the Administrative Process”. (7th Ed). Politics of the Administrative Process. Thousand Oaks, CA: CQ Press.

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