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The Appropriations Process and Timeline

President’s Budget Request:

The 2017 Budget Request is not yet public.

Congressional Budget Resolution:

After the president submits a budget request, the budget committees in the House and Senate review the Administration’s proposed budget and develop a budget resolution that reflects congressional spending priorities.

The budget resolution, which is not binding, is intended to be a blueprint for the appropriations committees. It includes targets for total spending, total revenues, and the deficit, as well as allocations, within the spending target, for discretionary and mandatory spending

Appropriations Committee Action:

After the budget resolutions have been passed, the appropriations committees begin work on funding for individual departments and programs. With 13 appropriations bills to be passed annually, there are several subcommittees focusing on specific appropriations legislation. Funding for the Fulbright Program and other international educational and cultural exchanges is included in the appropriation for the Department of State.

Resolving Differences:

The Senate and the House each pass their own version of each appropriations bill. Members of each appropriations committee then meet to reconcile differences between the two bills. The reconciled bill is then voted on in the respective chambers and sent to the president for their signature. The period before the conference committee meets is a critical time to contact participating members to reinforce your message of support for the Fulbright Program.

Final Action:

If the president vetoes the bill, then members of Congress enter into negotiations with the Administration to create a bill acceptable to all parties. Although the fiscal year officially begins on Oct. 1, the appropriations process can continue through November and even December. During an election year, however, the legislative calendar can be abbreviated, with members running for re-election returning to their districts to campaign.