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S. 1084, A Bill to provide a national budget system and an independent audit of Government accounts . . . (Budget and Accounting Act), April 25, 1921

Congress believed receiving a consolidated budget proposal from the president each year would help coordinate its spending decisions. The Budget and Accounting Act established the Bureau of the Budget in the executive branch to assist the president in crafting budget recommendations to Congress. It also created the legislative General Accounting Office, the nonpartisan auditing authority of the federal government.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration

Sec. 201. That the President shall transmit to Congress on the first day of each regular session, the Budget, which shall set forth in summary and in detail:

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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.