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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

Happy Budget Passback Day


On the last Monday in November, the Office of Management and Budget "passes back" drafts of agencies' budgets for the next fiscal year, kicking off last-ditch negotiations before OMB prepares a final budget proposal in January.

The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe reported Monday that the passbacks used to happen before Thanksgiving, but OMB Director Jacob Lew moved the date back a few days to avoid ruining agency budget officials' holiday.

Still, the passbacks require budgeteers to pore over the drafts and address any concerns with OMB officials. Sometimes, Cabinet secretaries are allowed to meet with the president to plead for more funds. But in these extraordinarily tight budget times, with the Obama administration and members of Congress looking for savings wherever they can find them, such efforts aren't likely to bear fruit.

While agency budget officials may have been able to enjoy their Thanksgiving turkey with their families this year, the remainder of the holiday season will remain busy for them and career staffers at OMB as final budget details are worked out.

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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