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Congressional Budget Justification

What it means: Each year the President prepares and submits to Congress a budget, outlining his spending and policy priorities for the coming federal fiscal year. Accompanying his budget are narrative explanations from each federal agency which present to Congress, specifically the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, the rationale behind the proposed increases or decreases in spending and/or any suggested changes in policy. These “budget justifications” or “Congressional Justifications” (CJs) also include information about spending for the current federal fiscal year, the prior federal fiscal year, and the upcoming “request” year. The CJs typically provide updates regarding agency programs, initiatives, projects, and activities and report on the status of requests that Congress has made of the agencies in the previous year’s appropriations measure.

Used in a sentence: “The NIH Congressional Justification (CJ) provides the Senate and House Appropriations Committees detailed estimates and justifications for research and research support activities (infrastructure, administrative, etc.) that NIH would anticipate funding at the President’s Budget Request level.” – National Institute of Health (NIH) Office of Budget