What Happens

     The formal review of the budget request is through Congressional hearings.  All parties strive to be prepared.  No one wants to be embarrassed.   Congressional reviewers and overseers have to digest much information, and don't want to look ignorant or foolish.  Neither do the people who have to defend the President's request.
For a perspective on how political considerations may affect the nature and tone of hearings, see my expectations (opinion) for the environment in which the FY 2001 budget formulation and FY 2000 budget execution processes will play out.
 
     After receipt of the President's budget request and the agency's justification materials, appropriations committee staff start an intensive review of the request and prepare for hearings.  Other interested parties, such as staff from other committees, may participate.  If the congressional majority is from a party other than the President's, there is an adversarial element in this work.

Why

     Congress operates through hearings and by establishing a record.  The record sets the basis for recommendations and decisions to come.  Recent developments indicate that there is a tendency to not follow this process, appropriations by and large tends to follow these traditions.

Agency Actions

   See questions and answers (Q&A's).

Timing

   After submission of the President's request.  Generally February through May.

Documents and Links

   Each participant at the hearings has briefing materials, but these are generally not available to the public.
Scheduling of hearings is by Appropriations Committees.  Dates available at their web sites - go to LINKS for these.