Every year the President submits a series of volumes to Congress containing the President's proposed budget for the coming fiscal year. The President's submission is required on or after the first Monday in January, but not later than the first Monday in February.
This report provides brief descriptions of the budget volumes and related documents, together with Internet addresses, Government Publishing Office (GPO) stock numbers, and prices for obtaining print copies of these publications. It also explains how to find the locations of government depository libraries, which can provide both printed copies for reference use and Internet access to the online versions. This report will be updated as events warrant.
Please note that neither the Congressional Research Service (CRS) nor the Library of Congress (LOC) distributes print copies of the budget documents.
The President's budget for FY2017 consists of a multivolume set of materials issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The materials contain information on new budget proposals, summary tables, detailed financial information on individual programs and accounts, economic analysis, historical data, explanations of the budget processes, and supporting documents. Every year the President submits these materials to Congress at the start of the budget cycle for the next fiscal year. The President's submission is required on or after the first Monday in January but no later than the first Monday in February (31 U.S.C. §1105a). The FY2017 budget materials were submitted on February 9, 2016.1
Other budget-related documents include the annual Economic Report of the President, issued in March by the Council of Economic Advisors, and the Budget and Economic Outlook, an annual publication issued by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Details on these publications are included in this report.
Both OMB and the Government Publishing Office (GPO) provide Internet access to the main and supporting budget documents, spreadsheet files, the public budget database, and budget amendments and supplementals proposed by the President: see http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget and http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collectionGPO.action?collectionCode=BUDGET, respectively.
Information on purchasing print copies of these documents appears below, along with a brief description of the contents of each document. OMB provides additional summary table information on agency budgets and key issues in the form of fact sheets, available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/agency-fact-sheets and https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/key-issue-fact-sheets.
The annual budget volume contains information, charts, and graphs pertaining to the President's new budget proposals and overviews of government activities by topic (e.g., "Meeting Our Greatest Challenges: National Security and Global Leadership" and "A Government of the Future") within the FY2017 Budget volume. Summary Tables (pp. 113-165) contain projections of budget baselines, receipts, and outlays; deficits; debt; discretionary spending; and economic projections from FY2015 to FY2026. Federal programs that have been recommended by the Administration for termination or reduction are detailed in the document entitled Cuts, Consolidations, and Savings, available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2017/assets/ccs.pdf.
(GPO stock number 041-001-00716-4, 182 pages, $38)
The FY2017 Budget CD-ROM contains the full content of the budget documents and most supporting documents for the budget in PDF files. Some data files are also included in spreadsheet format. The CD-ROM provides software to search, display, and print.
(GPO stock number 041-001-00715-6, $29)
This volume includes economic, accounting, and crosscutting analyses of government programs and activities designed to highlight specific subject areas. It also includes information on federal receipts and collections, analysis of federal spending, detailed information on federal borrowing and debt, baseline or current service estimates, and other technical presentations. Chapter 15, "Aid to State and Local Governments," contains a series of tables (pp. 269-280) that provide selected grant and other federal assistance data by state.
The FY2017 Analytical Perspectives volume contains supplemental materials including tables showing the budget by agency and account and by function, sub-function, and program.2 The supplemental materials also include data on direct and guaranteed loan transactions of the federal government. The supplemental material is available on a CD-ROM, in the printed document, or on the GPO website at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collectionGPO.action?collectionCode=BUDGET.
(GPO stock number 041-001-00714-8, $56, 418 pages)
Designed primarily for the use of the House and Senate appropriations committees, the FY2017 Appendix contains more detailed financial information on individual programs and appropriations accounts than any of the other budget documents submitted by the President. For each agency it provides the following:
Typically, these elements are distinguished by varying font, so that proposed appropriations (italics) and prior year funding (brackets) can be compared at a glance:
For expenses necessary for the administration of the Department of Justice,
[$111,500,000] $125,896,000, of which not to exceed $4,000,000 for security and construction of Department of Justice facilities shall remain available until expended. (Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2016.)3
(GPO stock number 041-001-00717-2, $79, 1,416 pages)
These detailed tables cover budget deficit/surplus, outlays, receipts, discretionary and mandatory spending, federal debt, federal employment, payments for individuals, spending by function and agency, and grants to states and local governments. These tables provide some data from 1940 (or earlier) and estimates through FY2021. Historical data are adjusted by OMB to be consistent with data in the FY2017 budget and to provide comparability over time. This year the Historical Tables are available online in spreadsheet and PDF instead of print. The Historical Tables are available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals.
This year's annual Economic Report of the President, transmitted to Congress in February 2016, presents the Administration's economic policies and contains the annual report of the Council of Economic Advisors. It also presents an overview of the nation's economic progress using text and extensive data appendices. Appendix B of the Economic Report includes current and historical statistics on major aspects of economic activity (pp. 395-430). Statistics include national income and expenditures, government finance, population, employment, wages, productivity, prices, debt measures, corporate finance, and international statistics. The report is available from the Council of Economic Advisors website at https://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cea/economic-report-of-the-President/2016.
The report is also available from the GPO website at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=ERP. A searchable database of the Economic Report of the President for each year from 1995 to the present is also available at this site. Spreadsheet files from Appendix B of the report can be accessed at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=ERP&browsePath=2015&isCollapsed=false&leafLevelBrowse=false&isDocumentResults=true&ycord=0.
(GPO stock number 040-000-00794-6, $53, 430 pages)
OMB issues revised estimates of budget receipts, outlays, and budget authority in the Mid-Session Review. This annual document is typically released in the summer following the President's budget submission. The FY2017 document is not currently available, but should be available in the summer on the OMB website.
(GPO stock number and ordering information not yet available)
After the President's budget documents are released in February, Congress begins to hold hearings on agency budget requests. Agencies must submit their budget justifications to the appropriations subcommittees holding the hearings. Budget justifications generally contain more detailed descriptions of an agency's proposals and programs than are provided in the President's budget documents. As mandated by OMB in Section 22.6 of the 2006 edition of Circular A-11 and subsequent editions, beginning with the FY2008 budget cycle, executive agencies are required to post their congressional budget justification materials on the Internet within two weeks of transmittal to Congress.4
Typically, Administration budget requests appear along with actual numbers for the immediate previous fiscal year. The content and structure of these submissions may vary and some materials may not correspond exactly with the data and information provided to Congress in other fiscal years.5 A short overview on the agency budget justification request can be found within CRS Report RS20268, Agency Justification of the President's Budget, by [author name scrubbed]
FY2017 budget justification documents for each executive agency may be accessed through CRS Report R43470, Selected Agency Budget Justifications for FY2017, by [author name scrubbed].
OMB maintains a publicly accessible database in Excel and comma delimited format called the Public Budget Database. This resource provides account level detail data on budget authority for the years FY1976 to FY2021,6 and budget outlays and budget receipts for FY1962 to FY2021. This resource is available on the GPO FY2017 budget website at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collectionGPO.action?collectionCode=BUDGET. A user's guide in PDF format is also available on this site by clicking on the expandable tab for the document.
CBO's baseline budget projections span 11 fiscal years in its reports. The Budget and Economic Outlook includes separate chapters on the economic outlook, outlays, and receipts. The data and projections cover FY2016 through FY2026. This document, released in January 2016, also includes discussions on current economic conditions. The report is available on the CBO website at https://www.cbo.gov/publication/51129. The website also includes underlying data, supplemental material, and baseline projections. CBO issues an annual summer update of the Budget and Economic Outlook with adjusted projections. This document and other budget and economic information, including CBO's monthly budget review are available at http://www.cbo.gov/topics/budget.
Printed copies of budget documents are available for purchase from GPO by the following methods.
Budget documents are often available for reference use at large public or university libraries, or any library participating in the Federal Library Depository Program. Addresses of the depository libraries can be obtained through a local library; from GPO's Customer Services department, [phone number scrubbed] or [phone number scrubbed]; or online from the GPO website at http://catalog.gpo.gov/fdlpdir/FDLPdir.jsp?mode=6.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has developed (for Members of Congress and their staffs) two web pages covering the budget and appropriations process.
The public may access Congress.gov, the legislative website produced by the Library of Congress. The site includes a Status of Appropriations Legislation for the current year and several previous fiscal years, which include links to bills, committee and conference reports, and votes for the 12 regular, and any supplemental, appropriations bills. The Congress.gov Status Table of Appropriations is available at https://www.congress.gov/legislation/appropriations.
Author Contact Information
For additional information on the timing of the Presidential Budget submission see CRS Report R43163, The President's Budget: Overview of Structure and Timing of Submission to Congress, by [author name scrubbed].
The President's FY2017 budget includes a "Glossary of Budget Terms" within Analytical Perspectives. See pp. 115-119.
Department of Justice, General Administration, from p. 741 of the FY2017 Budget Appendix.
Each summer, OMB issues instructions to all federal executive departments and agencies on submitting budget data and materials for inclusion in the President's budget documents. These instructions are in a document entitled Circular No. A-11: Preparation, Submission, and Execution of the Budget. Circular A-11 is available on the White House website at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars_a11_current_year_a11_toc. See Section 22.6.
Additional data may also be available directly from the agencies themselves via listed congressional liaison or governmental affairs contacts in CRS Report 98-446, Congressional Liaison Offices of Selected Federal Agencies, by [author name scrubbed]. A listing of agencies included within each of the 12 regular appropriations bills is available in CRS Report R40858, Locate an Agency or Program Within Appropriations Bills, by [author name scrubbed].
Budget authority data includes actual budget authority through FY2015 and estimates for FY2016 through FY2021.