The government budget is vital as a tool for development and as an instrument for public accountability. It serves as a basis for tracking government expenditures and services delivered, and for evaluating the government’s use of public funds. This Legislator’s Guide seeks to aid Members of Congress in the performance of their budget authorization and oversight functions, ex-ante and ex-post. It expounds on the congressional power of the purse, looks at the dynamics between the Legislative and the Executive Branches in the context of government budgeting, highlights key information and documents useful for budget analysis, and suggests tools for the exercise of budget oversight.
This Guide is divided into three parts: 1) the role of Congress in the budget process; 2) a framework for budget analysis, based on the public expenditure management (PEM) approach; and 3) expanded guide on resources for budget oversight. This 4th edition of the Guide also adds a new chapter that highlights the key information in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) that are useful for budget analysis.