What Happens

      Congress needs to vote on the bill.  After the appropriations committees complete work, the bill is ready for floor action.  There may be debate on the floor and there may be amendments.  In most cases, there is little that affects directly a specific agency and even less that affects an operating component - most issues have been debated in committee and decisions have been made prior to floor action.  Dramatic confrontations on the floor in relation to appropriations are rare.  (But see how the floor debate can be used to PRESSURE an agency.)

Why

    Appropriations are legislation.  They are processed by Congress as any legislation.  But appropriations are usually for a year, and need to be processed and voted on every year.

Agency and Operating Component Actions

     Very little related to the vote.  There may be activity related to controversial issues that may require Executive Branch lobbying or providing information to supportive members to assure that the administration view is reflected in the floor debate.

Timing

   When Congress is ready to act.  Voting tends to bunch up towards the end of the summer since the new fiscal year begins on October 1 and there is some institutional pressure to pass appropriations bills.

Documents and Links

       The record of votes published in the Congressional Record, as well as the debate that is recorded there.  Status of final actions can be found at House Committee on Appropriations and Senate Committee on Appropriations sites.   There are also other sites that track the status of legislation, such as the Library of Congress' summary status reports available by accessing full status information in Thomas.