In the United States, the president was not required to submit an annual federal budget estimate until the passage (1921) of the Budget and Accounting Act. According to the act, the president must annually submit to Congress a budget that shows the condition of the Treasury at the end of the last completed fiscal year, its estimated condition at the end of the current fiscal year, and its estimated condition at the end of the ensuing year if the budget proposals are carried out; the revenues and expenditures during the last completed year and the estimates thereof for the current year; recommendations of provisions for meeting the revenues and expenditures for the ensuing year; and any other data considered helpful to Congress in its determination of the government's financial policy. No other administrative officer is allowed to make revenue recommendations unless asked to do so by Congress.
To help the president, the Budget and Accounting Act also created the Bureau of the Budget, under the Treasury Dept., to receive, compile, and criticize estimates of expenditure needs submitted by the various governmental services and to study in detail all government services and recommend to the president any changes that will increase their economy and efficiency. The bureau was transferred (1939) to the executive office of the president, and reconstituted (1970) as the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), with additional functions involving the review of organizational structure within the executive branch of the federal government. The national budget is often regarded as one of the major policy statements of a presidential administration.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.