Skip to main content

Navigating the Complexities of the Federal Budget

Posted on February 28, 2014

The President and Congress use the federal budget process to help allocate federal funds among competing demands. The 2015 President’s Budget (which will be released on March 4th), is

  • the President’s principal policy statement;
  • the administration’s plan for funding the government; and
  • the starting point for Congress’s budgetary actions.

Resources to help you navigate the complexities of the federal budget process

Budget Glossary: Our budget glossary is a basic reference document for anyone interested in the federal budget-making process. It defines commonly used budget terms you will hear a lot in the coming weeks as well as relevant economic and accounting terms. It also helps clear up any confusion when terms have different budgetary and nonbudgetary meanings.

Agency Level Questions: We also have resources if you are planning to look at an individual agency or program’s account information in detail:

Long-Term Fiscal Outlook Simulations: We work to provide Congress and the public with updated analysis on the fiscal outlook for the federal government and for the state and local government sector and with answers to key questions about federal debt to help inform budgetary decisions.

Watch our video for an overview of what the federal debt is, and what it isn’t.

GAO: What is the Federal Debt?

GAO Contacts

Susan J. Irving
Susan J. Irving
Senior Advisor

Related Products

About Watchblog

GAO's mission is to provide Congress with fact-based, nonpartisan information that can help improve federal government performance and ensure accountability for the benefit of the American people. GAO launched its WatchBlog in January, 2014, as part of its continuing effort to reach its audiences—Congress and the American people—where they are currently looking for information.

The blog format allows GAO to provide a little more context about its work than it can offer on its other social media platforms. Posts will tie GAO work to current events and the news; show how GAO’s work is affecting agencies or legislation; highlight reports, testimonies, and issue areas where GAO does work; and provide information about GAO itself, among other things.

Please send any feedback on GAO's WatchBlog to