The Political Nature of Public Sector Budgeting


As you have seen from the readings, public sector budgeting often involves several different categories of interested actors who seek to influence the budget process and the resulting budget in a variety of ways. In this week’s discussion board forum, please identify the various actors that may influence public budgeting and explain how they and their various interests contribute to the political nature of public budgeting.

Sample paper

The Political Nature of Public Sector Budgeting

Budget development is an intricate process that involves many actors trying to influence allocations to various projects, particular course, departments, or agencies. One of the key actors in the budget process is the president. The president holds the legal mandate to draft the budget (Heniff, Lynch, & tollestrup, 2012). The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) helps the president in formulating the budget. Another important actor in the budget process is the Congress. Congress comprises of two factions: Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate Committee on the budget and the House Committee on the budget from each chamber of Congress make their own budget resolutions (Heniff, Lynch, & tollestrup, 2012). Budget resolutions provide a guiding framework to the Congress on making critical decisions concerning the budget such as tax rates and spending. There are also House and Senate Subcommittees that help in making precise budget appropriations. The Subcommittees, also known as Appropriation Committees, determine the budget authority or the precise budget levels.

The heads of various federal agencies also play a critical role in public budgeting. The heads of the various government agencies prepare budget requests that they submit to the appropriation subcommittees. The appropriation subcommittees pose questions to heads of government agencies in order to determine whether their budget requests are justified (Heniff, Lynch, & tollestrup, 2012). The Senate and the House of Representatives finally vote on the different Appropriation Bills. Bills that pass in both House and Senate go the president for signing into law. Where there are differences between the chambers, a special committee engages in reconciling the differences (Heniff, Lynch, & tollestrup, 2012). Another actor in the public  budgeting process is lobby groups. Lobby groups may yield some power to influence how the various actors in the decision making process allocate budget. Through constant lobbying and engaging the public, lobby groups can be able to pressure the president to commit a budget towards a particular course.


Heniff, B., Lynch, M. S., & tollestrup, J. (2012). Introduction to the Federal Budget Process.             Congressional Research Service. Retrieved from