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Every year, Congress is required by law to pass a budget and then divvy up your tax dollars accordingly. Of course, with Congress it's never that easy; nearly every year they miss many of their legally bound due dates. This series of dismissed deadlines is officially known as the appropriations process, and we've mapped it out just for you. Up top, the process is outlined as it's supposed to happen, and down below is the story of what Congress has actually done. (Hint: They're not the same.) And at the bottom of this page, we track the 12 appropriation bills as they move through the House and Senate. The process is ongoing, so check back often and we'll keep you updated.

Appropriations Timeline
chart
Timeline under the law
What’s really happening
Feb
3 Feb

3-Feb

Senate

Sen. Majority Leader Reid says he will not move a budget this year. He argues the Budget Control Act suffices for a budget

3-FebSenate

Sen. Majority Leader Reid says he will not move a budget this year. He argues the Budget Control Act suffices for a budget

6 Feb

6-Feb

Executive Branch

President submits budget to Congress; deadline missed

6-FebExecutive Branch

President submits budget to Congress; deadline missed

13 Feb

13-Feb

Executive Branch

President Obama submits his budget late to Congress

13-FebExecutive Branch

President Obama submits his budget late to Congress

Mar
21 Mar

21-Mar

House

House Budget Committee Budget Markup

21-MarHouse

House Budget Committee Budget Markup

29 Mar

29-Mar

House

House passes budget on March 29

29-MarHouse

House passes budget on March 29

Apr
1 Apr

1-Apr

Senate

Senate Budget Committee reports budget resolution. There is no corresponding deadline for the House Budget Committee; deadline missed

1-AprSenate

Senate Budget Committee reports budget resolution. There is no corresponding deadline for the House Budget Committee; deadline missed

15 Apr

15-Apr

House and Senate

House and Senate pass same version of a budget; deadline missed

15-AprHouse and Senate

House and Senate pass same version of a budget; deadline missed

It is important to note that a budget is generally needed to start the appropriations process because a budget sets the top-line spending number. If no budget has pass, the House and Senate generally “deem” one to have passed to set this top-line spending number.
17 Apr

17-Apr

House

With no final budget, the House deems a budget to have passed to set a top-line spending number for discretionary spending. At this point, this number is $1.028 trillion

17-AprHouse

With no final budget, the House deems a budget to have passed to set a top-line spending number for discretionary spending. At this point, this number is $1.028 trillion

18 Apr

18-Apr

Senate

Senate Budget Committee holds a hearing on the budget, although one was not formally marked-up

18-AprSenate

Senate Budget Committee holds a hearing on the budget, although one was not formally marked-up

May
16 May

16-May

Senate

Senate votes on five budgets; all of which were defeated

16-MaySenate

Senate votes on five budgets; all of which were defeated

Jun
30 Jun

30-Jun

House

House completes action on 12 individual appropriation bills; deadline missed

30-JunHouse

House completes action on 12 individual appropriation bills; deadline missed

Jul
31 Jul

31-Jul

House and Senate

Senate Majority Leader and House Speaker announced an agreement to avoid a government shutdown.

31-JulHouse and Senate

Senate Majority Leader and House Speaker announced an agreement to avoid a government shutdown.

Sep
28 Sep

28-Sep

Continuing Resolution signed into law.

28-Sep

Continuing Resolution signed into law.

Oct
1 Oct

1-Oct

Start of the new fiscal year begins. All 12 appropriation bills are supposed to be signed into law by this date

1-Oct

Start of the new fiscal year begins. All 12 appropriation bills are supposed to be signed into law by this date

                     
Bill House Senate Conference President
Subcom. Comm. Passage Subcom. Comm. Passage Report House Approval Senate Approval
Bill House Senate Conference President
Subcom. Comm. Passage Subcom. Comm. Passage Report House Approval Senate Approval

Agriculture*

HR 5973

S 2375

June 6

June 19

 

April 26

Commerce-Justice-Science*

HR 5326

S 2323

April 19

April 26

May 10

April 17

April 19

Defense*

HR 5856

Senate Draft

May 8

May 17

July 19

July 31

August 2

Energy-Water*

HR 5325

S 2465

April 18

April 25

June 6

April 24

April 26

Financial Services*

HR 6020

S 3301

June 6

June 20

June 12

June 14

Homeland Security*

HR 5855

S 3216

May 9

May 16

June 7

May 15

May 22

Interior-Environment*

HR 6091

Senate Draft

June 20

June 28

 

Labor-HHS-Education*

House Draft

S 3295

July 18

 

June 12

June 14

Legislative Branch*

HR 5882

Senate Draft

May 18

May 31

June 8

 

August 2

Military Construction-VA*

HR 5854

S 3215

May 8

May 16

May 31

May 15

May 22

State-Foreign Operations*

HR 5857

S 3241

May 9

May 17

May 22

May 24

Transportation-HUD*

HR 5972

S 2322

June 7

June 19

June 29

April 17

April 19

* Note that the Continuing Resolution, signed into law on September 28, now takes the place of these bills for up to six months.

Timeline under the law
What’s really happening