07 Jan Something New That I have learned
One of the most important concepts that I have been introduced to in my time as an intern is the concept of budget appropriations. There are many rules involved in the process of planning the spending of money, coordinating work between government agencies, and detailing government employees. I was reminded that congress makes all the larger decisions about our levels of funding and that it is our job to show them what our plans are so that we can make the argument for proper funding. When we have authority through federal law to spend federal funds, it is called budget authority. Budget authority can be seen in the appropriations congress gives the forest service where we are given money for a specified purpose. In addition to having a specified purpose, these funds also have a window of time they can be used and a classification of mandatory or discretionary. It is a violation to spend in excess of your appropriation, or outside the window of time for your appropriation. You also aren’t allowed to enter into a financial agreement in anticipation of an appropriation.
The number of rules surrounding the spending of this money has shown me how important our budget staff is to the organization. While the staff areas are the ones on the ground accomplishing our goals, we also have to do it in a way that keeps us within the law and that is where budget staff plays their part. There is quite a bit more that I haven’t learned about Federal Appropriations Law but I think I have already learned a great deal. I do, however, look forward to learning more about this topic in the future.
I’ll be in touch,