It’s early October. There’s a chill in the air, fall colors are appearing on the trees, and it’s the start of a brand new fiscal year... While many of us are a bit familiar with the trials and travails of interaction between Congress and the President, the reality is that the bureaucracy and federal departments are involved many months before. In fact, planning for the FY2019 budget began in the spring of this year, when the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued planning guidance to agencies. By late spring 2017 and into the summer, agencies and offices within those agencies began to develop their budget request based on that guidance. By July, OMB officially updates any changes to procedures on how agencies will submit those requests.
Once all that happens, agencies submit their official budget requests, and over the next couple of months, OMB staff will review those requests and compare them with President Trump’s policy priorities and budget priorities. Late this year, the White House and President Trump will make decisions on agency requests based on the advice of OMB Director Mick Mulvaney. Mulvaney will then inform agencies of the decisions in what is commonly referred to as OMB “passback”, and some agencies will then try to appeal that decision to Mulvaney, or Trump directly.
Phew! And we’re not even at the final budget proposal that the Administration submits to Congress yet! Stay tuned.
For those looking for a fairly detailed examination of the Executive budget process in the early stages, take a look at this helpful overview from the Congressional Research Service: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42633.pdf