Message of the President of the United States Transmitting the Budget for the Service of the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1923, December 5, 1921
President Warren G. Harding was the first president who had to submit a federal budget proposal to Congress under the Budget and Accounting Act. In his budget submission for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1923, President Harding proposed government expenditures of approximately $3.5 billion ($49.4 billion in 2017 dollars).
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Managing the Federal Budget
After World War I, the federal government grew exponentially due to its more active role in military and foreign policy. As federal spending rose, Congress sought to rationalize its decision-making process regarding government revenues and expenditures. Congress enacted the Budget and Accounting Act, which established a budget process for the executive branch and shifted many budgetary powers from Congress to the president. The 1921 act, as amended, remains the legislative basis for the nation’s executive budgetary system.