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Legislative and Government Relations: What is the Budget Process for NAL and Agricultural Information Programs?

Table of Contents

The National Agricultural Library Budget Process

The federal government fiscal year begins October 1 and ends September 30 of the following calendar year.  Each fiscal year is given the name of the calendar year in which it ends, i.e. Fiscal Year 2004 began on October 1, 2003 and will end on September 30, 2004. Government agencies are constantly preoccupied with budget matters.  At any given time, the agency is managing the budget for the current fiscal year, is preparing or defending proposals for the next two fiscal years, and may be closing the books and reporting on the previous fiscal year. While Congress has had suggestions that the government might move to two year fiscal periods, the suggestions have not gained ground.


Funding for the National Agricultural Library comes from two sources, appropriated and non-appropriated funds. In requesting appropriated funds, the Library follows procedures and guidelines of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the Department of Agriculture. ARS is given budget targets based on Departmental budget targets established by the administration. Library budget proposals are reviewed by ARS, the Department and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) before they are submitted to Congress as part of the Departmental budget request.  The proposals are divided into two parts, a program budget and a facilities budget; funds for each part are appropriated separately by Congress and cannot be transferred from one part to the other.  In addition to appropriated funds, the Library has authority to accept gifts and receive revenue from sales or licensing of information products.  As well, the Library may receive "soft funding", which is funding received from other government entities or non-governmental sources, in support of specific activities whose existence and continuation are partially or totally dependent on this funding.


The National Agricultural Library Budget Timeline

An indicative timeline for budget work is shown below. 


Key: A is current year. A- is previous year. A+1 and A+2 are future years.


October November/December February
  • Close books for Budget A-
  • Budget A begins
  • ARS hearings re: Budget A
  • Answer OMB questions re: Budget A+1
  • Budget A+1 to Congress
March/April June - August September
  • Congress considers Budget A+1
  • Begin preparation of Budget A+2
  • Congress considers Budget A+1
  • Budget A+2 to ARS and USDA
  • Budget A ends
  • Deadline for passage of Budget A+1; continuing resolution(s) a possibility
  • Budget A+2 to OMB


Useful Links

How laws are made: House

Especially: The Congressional Budget Process


How laws are made: Senate

Especially: The Congressional Budget Process


U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture Rural Development, and Related Services

Especially: Member Contact Information


U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies

Especially: Member Contact Information