The federal budget process
Learn about the federal government’s budget process, from the president’s budget plan to Congress’s work creating funding bills for the president to sign.
Every year, the U.S. Congress begins work on a federal budget for the next fiscal year. The federal government’s fiscal year runs from October 1 of one calendar year through September 30 of the next.
Annual funding areas
The annual budget covers three spending areas:
- Mandatory spending - funding for Social Security, Medicare, veterans benefits, and other spending required by law. This typically uses over half of all funding.
- Discretionary spending - federal agency funding. Congress sets funding levels for these each year. This usually accounts for around a third of all funding.
- Interest on the debt - this usually uses less than 10 percent of all funding.
Creating the U.S. federal budget
The budget planning begins a year before the budget is to go into effect.
LAST UPDATED: December 6, 2023