March 25, 2022
President Joe Biden plans to send his budget request to Congress on March 28 or later, laying out his funding ambitions for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY 2023) that officially begins on October 1, 2022. The president’s budget request, which is statutorily required to be submitted in February but comes later than that most years, typically kicks off the appropriations process. After the President was delayed until late May in releasing his budget last year, appropriations committee leaders say they hope the earlier release will speed appropriations work this time.
The FY 2022 budget process concluded five and a half months late in mid-March when the President signed a $1.5 trillion omnibus bill. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who manages the House floor schedule, wants to avoid repeating the same pattern again. While there was a general understanding the total would end up around $1.5 trillion, it took until early February for appropriators to formally agree on that sum and how the money would be split between defense and nondefense spending.
Congressional leaders and top appropriators have already started discussing their plans for moving quickly to pass the 12 annual spending bills – known as the 302(b) allocations – for FY 2023. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who is expected to become the GOP’s top Senate appropriator next year, said she has already talked to Leader Hoyer about trying to return to regular order for moving the funding measures.
In 2021, the appropriations process saw a significant change – the restoration of earmarks, now known as Community Project Funding requests. After an 11-year hiatus, the $1.5 trillion FY 2022 omnibus spending package included more than 4,000 member-directed projects. For FY 2022, individual members of Congress solicited requests for funding from constituents, which were then submitted to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees for review and inclusion in the final funding bill. The process will be similar for FY 2023 as several members are now accepting community requests via forms on their websites. Most offices have deadlines for constituents to submit project requests in the last week of March or first week of April.
In the House, the Committee on Appropriations is accepting submissions from members between April 4 – 30. Information regarding how the Member request process will work is included in Committee guidance available here. All transparency and accountability requirements the Committee announced last year for Community Project Funding requests remain in place, including limiting spending on Community Project Funding to no more than 1 percent of discretionary spending. However, there are a few important changes, which can be found here. One of the biggest changes is that members can now request up to 15 projects instead of the 10 previously allowed.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has not yet issued guidance for FY 2023 earmarks, referred to as Congressionally Directed Spending in the Senate. Last year, Senate requests were due between mid-June and early July.
Timeline for FY 2023 Appropriations Process (subject to change):
- The President submits the FY 2023 budget.
- April – May
- Appropriators begin agency budget hearings.
- The House Appropriations Committee deadline for requests is April 30. Individual member offices have their own deadlines in April.
- Members of Congress prioritize initiatives and make formal requests to the appropriations committee.
- House and Senate create their budget resolutions and set the 302b allocations, which set the spending levels for the twelve appropriations subcommittees.
- Appropriations committees begin the markup process.
- Appropriations bills are brought to the floor of both houses.
- October 1 is the beginning of the next fiscal year. Recently, Congress rarely meets this deadline. Many are predicting this year’s process will carry over into a lame duck session.