US Agencies Budget Outlay and Authority Analysis


The United States has several agencies that assist the government to achieve its numerous functions. Among these agencies are U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Secret Service. The U.S secret service is mainly charged with investigating and protecting crimes. It is an executive agency. Upon its inception, it was included as part of the treasury but in March 2003, the agency was transferred to the Department of Homeland security after enactment of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296).

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The US Coast Guard operates under the Department of Transportation and is charged with searching and rescuing missions, protection of the marine environment, and enforcement of fishing-related laws, immigration and maritime drug trafficking, as well as facilitation of safe vessel navigation across the US waters. Its security function also links it to the US Homeland security.

United States Forestry Service is managed under the United States Department of Agriculture. It oversees over 155 forests classified as national, in addition to 20 grasslands also classified as national. Its major operational divisions consist of the national forest system, the state, and private forestry as well as the research and development wing. Its functions are regulated by the Department of agriculture.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the United States Federal government and is charged with the protection of both human and environmental health. The agency performs an environmental assessment, engages in research and education, and is responsible for the maintenance and enforcement of the national environmental standards as stipulated by the environmental laws. However, it has delegated some of the responsibilities to individual states. It enforces its standard requirements through fines, sanctions as well as other legal measures it deems necessary. It also works alongside industries and various government levels to encourage voluntary programs aimed at preventing pollution as well as encouraging conservation of energy. This is an independent functioning agency.


Funding of the US Coast guard is done via the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under HR 2017 which directs funding to several agencies including the US secret service. The US Forest Service is headed by a career federal officer who oversees its overall operations. The Chief of Forest Service works alongside other administrators to develop the budget and report all activities of the agency and the Under Secretary for U.S. Natural Resources and Environment, which is situated in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The administration submits a budget to congress, which also plays an oversight role to the agency. Essentially top management draws from several departments.

While the U.S Coast Guard and the US Secret service fall under the security within budgetary allocation, the US Environmental Protection Agency falls under the department of Interior while the US Forest service falls under the United States Department of Agriculture.

US Secret service budget outlay

Program and activities FY 2009 FY 2010 budget request FY2010 House passed FY 2010 senate passed FY 2010 enacted
Protection of persons and facilities 806 756 756 760 756
Protective intelligence activities 60 68 68 68 68
National special security events 1 1 1 1 1
Candidate nominee protection 41 0 0 0 0
White House mail screening 34 25 22 22 22
Management and administration 182 221 200 221 221
Rowley training center 53 54 54 54 54
Domestic field operations 242 261 261 261 261
International field operations 30 31 31 31 31
Electronic crimes program 52 57 57 57 57
Forensic support to the national center for missing and exploited persons 8 8 8 8 8
Acquisition construction and improvements 4 4 4 4 4
Uniformed division modernization 0 4 0 0 0
Total 1513 1490 1461 1487 1483

Table 1: US Secret Service Budget (Source: White House, 2011).

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The US secret service is mainly charged with two key functions, which, as already mentioned include protection and investigation of criminal issues. The optimum budget authority about yearly appropriations is established via a 2-phase congressional spending budget procedure. In the initial phase, Congress sets general spending totals in the yearly concurrent decision on the funding. Consequently, these figures are allotted amongst the appropriations committees, normally via the statement of administrators for the conference report on the budgeted decision. These sums are recognized as the 302(a) allocations (Rubin, 2009).

They consist of discretionary totals readily available to the House as well as Senate Committees on appropriations for enactment within yearly appropriations bills via the sub-committees accountable for the improvement of the bills.

In the 2nd phase of the procedure, the appropriations committees allot the 302(a) discretionary funds amongst their sub-committees for every one of the appropriations bills. These sums are recognized as the 302(b) allotments. These allocations need to add up to not beyond that stipulated by 302(a) discretionary allocation and also form the foundation about enforcing budget discipline, given that any bill reported with a total earlier mentioned the ceiling is subject to a point of order (Rubin, 2009). 302(b) allocations may well be fine-tuned throughout the 12 months as the various appropriations bills improve in the direction of ultimate enactment

Federal government spending consists of a multiple-step procedure that starts with the enactment of budget authority through Congress (Rubin, 2009). Federal government agencies subsequently obligate funds from the past budget authority to pay out for their actions. Lastly, payments are produced to liquidate the responsibilities; the payment amounts are mirrored in the budget as outlays.

Budget authority is set up via appropriations functions or even direct spending legal guidelines as well as establishes the amounts which are readily available for the agency to use. The Anti-deficiency Act forbids federal government agencies from obligating additional funds compared to the budget authority which was passed by Congress. Budget authority may additionally be indefinite, as whenever Congress enacts language providing, like amounts as might be essential to accomplish a task or objective. Budget authority may well be readily available on a single -year, multiple -year, or virtually no -year basis (Rubin, 2009).

A single -year budget authority is solely obtainable about obligation throughout a particular financial year; any kind of unobligated funds at the end of that year is no longer readily available about spending (Rubin, 2009). Multiple -year budget authority specifies a range of time during which funds can be required for spending; no -year budget authority is accessible for obligation for an indefinite length of time.

Obligations are accrued whenever federal government agencies hire personnel, get into contracts, acquire services, and also indulge in equivalent transactions in a given financial year. Outlays are the financial resources that are spent in the course of the financial year. Due to the fact multiple-year as well as no-year budget authorities may well be obliged over a range of years, outlays do not usually complement the budget authority passed in a given year. Furthermore, the budget authority might be passed in a single financial year yet spent in a future financial year, specifically with specific agreements (Rubin, 2009).

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In total, budget authority enables federal government agencies to incur obligations and authorize expenses, or outlays, to be made out of the Treasury. Discretionary agencies as well as plans, and also appropriated entitlement plans, are usually financed every year in appropriations acts.

Gross budget authority, or even the overall funds available about spending by a federal government agency, may well be made up of discretionary as well as mandatory spending (Rubin, 2009). Discretionary spending is not mandated by the present law and is therefore appropriated every year by Congress via appropriations acts. The Budget Enforcement Act (1990) describes discretionary appropriations as budget authority presented in yearly appropriation acts as well as the outlays derived from the authority (Schick, 2000).


Several selections counteract a portion of an agency’s discretionary budget authority. Other selections offset an agency’s obligatory spending. They are generally entitlement plans under which people, enterprises, or even units associated with the federal government that satisfy the needs or even credentials set up by law are entitled to have specific payments if they set up eligibility (Lake & Painter, 2011). The DHS budget includes a pair of obligatory entitlement plans: the Secret Service, as well as the Coast Guard, retired pay off accounts. Several entitlements are appropriations through long term appropriations, others through yearly appropriations.


Lake, J.E. & Painter, W. L. (2011). Analyst in Emergency Management and Homeland Security Policy. New York: Homeland Security Department.

Rubin, I. S. (2009). The politics of public budgeting: Getting and spending; borrowing and balancing (6th Ed.). Washington D.C.: CQ Press.

Schick, A. (2000). The federal budget: Politics, policy, and process. Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.

White House. (2011). Budget. Web.

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