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UMW Action Alert: Proposed Federal Budget for FY 2005

by Washington DC Office of Public Policy

Contact: Office of Public Policy GBGM-Women's Division 100 Maryland Avenue, NE Room 530 Washington, DC 20002 (202)488-5660 Fax:(202) 488-5681
Office of Public Policy
GBGM-Women's Division
100 Maryland Avenue, NE Room 530
Washington, DC 20002
Fax:(202) 488-5681

Proposed Federal Budget for FY 2005

February 2004

On Monday February 2, 2004 President George Bush presented his 2005 fiscal year (FY) budget, which begins on October 1, to Congress.  President Bush submitted a $2.4 trillion budget that focuses primarily on spending for defense and security and that proposes keeping most discretionary spending to a half percent increase and the elimination of 65 government programs, 38 of which are education-related.1 

The President’s budget proposal is the first step in the federal budget process.  Although the President proposes a budget to Congress, it is Congress that ultimately decides how the budget is appropriated.  The two major parts of the budget include discretionary spending, money spent through the annual appropriations bills, and mandatory spending, spending the federal government is obligated to make.  Items in mandatory spending include Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  Once Congress receives the President’s budget, a Congressional Budget Resolution, which lays down a framework within which Congress makes decisions on revenues, spending and other budget issues, is formulated by the Budget Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives.  Then the resolution is sent to the House and Senate floor for a vote.  This process must be completed by April 15. 

After the budget resolution passes, the Appropriations Committees of both the House and the Senate begin the process of deciding how much to give to government agencies for spending.  The Appropriation s Committees divide their work into 13 Appropriations Subcommittees which include; Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, the District of Columbia, Energy and Water, Foreign Operations, Interior, Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, Legislative, Military Construction, Transportation, Treasury and Postal, Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development.  The Appropriations Committees must complete all of their work by June 10.  Once the Committees have decided on how to appropriate the budget, the spending bills are sent to the House and Senate floors for vote.  All additional work and votes on the spending bills must be completed by June 30.  The Congress then presents the Appropriations Bills to the President for his signature or veto.2    

President Bush’s FY 2005 budget proposal calls for a great increase in funding for defense and homeland security.  Under the proposal, the Defense Department ’s budget would increase by 7.1% or $26 billion, bringing the total to $402 billion.3  Half of all domestic discretionary spending will go to the defense budget.4  The proposal includes $10.3 billion for missile defense and $69 billion to improve battlefield technology.5  The Homeland Security Department budget would increase by 9.7%, or $3 billion, bringing the total Homeland Security budget to $30 billion.  The budget also includes a 5.7% increase, or $900 million to the budget of The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  This increase reflects the President’s plan to concentrate on more missions to Mars and the moon.6 

The President’s budget includes the termination of 65 federal programs.  The largest number and amount of these terminations are in the Education and Justice Departments.  Although the proposal increases the Department of Education’s budget by 3% to $57.3 billion, the budget cuts many education programs. 7  An increase of $1 billion is proposed for Title I grants to help local school districts improve low-performing schools and teacher quality,8 but 38 programs would be cut, including $11 million for gifted and talented students and $246 million for the family literacy program Even Start.  $35 million would also be eliminated for the Arts in Education program.  There is also a proposal to increase funding for school vouchers by $50 million.9  The budget would also cut $316 million in vocational training funding10  and would eliminate “federal and vocational and adult education funding by 35%, from $2.1 billion to $1.4 billion.”11             

Discretionary spending on all Heath and Human Services Department programs would decrease by 1.6% to $68.2 billion.  The proposal would decrease spending for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and would decrease funding to the housing voucher program.12  A decrease in spending for the housing voucher program, “the nation’s principal low-income housing assistance program, could cause the number of low-income families and elderly and disabled households receiving such assistance to be cut by 250,000.”13  The proposal also includes allocating up to $360 million a year to support healthy marriages and family formation, which is greater than what was proposed in 2004.14  The budget proposal would also cut the Department of Labor’s International Affairs budget by 73%, or $80 million, which will cause a great impact on programs to end child labor.15

The President’s proposal does not include spending for Iraq and Afghanistan for FY 2005.  $62 billion out of the $87 billion supplemental spending bill passed by Congress last fall is being used for military needs in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Joshua B. Bolten, the director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, suggested that $50 billion was the upper limit of what the Administration would seek from Congress in a supplemental spending bill in 2005.16  The supplemental bill that may be passed next year will only put greater pressure on state and local budgets.  “Under the President’s budget, grants to state and local governments for all programs other than Medicaid would decline by 2.6%, after adjusting for inflation.  The $6 billion shortfall would add to the fiscal stress that states and localities continue to face.  States face budget deficits of approximately $40 billion for state fiscal year 2005, following budget deficits of nearly $200 billion over the previous three years.”17


 *For more information about the Budget Process read our February 2003 Action Alert  entitled Federal Budget Process.  You may obtain a copy by contacting your Conference Social Coordinator or by contacting our office at (202) 488-5660.  You may also use the February 2003 Action Alert to compare the President’s FY 2004 budget proposal to this year’s budget proposal.  

*Contact the House of Representatives and Senate Budget and Appropriations Committees and ask them to support budget allocations in areas that reflect the values expressed in the Social Principles.  Read the Book of Resolutions 2000 pp.32-64.  Below you will find contact information for these committees.

Senate Appropriations Committee:    House Appropriations Committee:
Senator Ted Stevens 

Chairman:  Representative
C.W. Bill Young
Ranking Member: 
Senator Robert C Byrd
Ranking Member: 
Representative David R. Obey
U.S. Senate
Senate Appropriations Committee
Room S-128 
Washington, DC 20510
U.S. House of Representatives
House Appropriations Committee
Room H-218
Washington, DC 20515
Telephone:     (202) 224-7363
Fax:                 (202) 228-0248 
Telephone:     (202) 225-2771
Web address:
Web address:

*Follow the FY 2005 budget process through newspapers, radio, television and the internet.  Write to your Representatives and Senators as the budget process continues.

*Compare the federal budget priorities to the budget priorities of your state.

Major Steps in the Federal Budget Process

Deadline Action to be completed
First Monday in
President submits budget to Congress.
February 15 
Congressional Budget Office submits report on economic and budget outlook to Budget Committees of the House and Senate.
April 1 Senate Budget Committee reports budget resolution to Congress.
April 15  Congress completes action on budget resolution and votes on final version of the budget resolution.
June 10   Appropriations Committees complete all of their work
The Appropriations bills are sent to the House and Senate floors for a vote.
June 30 After two versions of the Appropriations bills are passed, a conference is held between the House and Senate to formulate one version of the bills.  Then the Conference agreement is sent to the House and Senate floor for a final vote.
October 1 Fiscal year begins.


Date posted: Mar 23, 2004