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Markup Season in Congress: What Does That Mean?

Markup season in Congress is upon us. What does that mean?

The FY23 Pres Bud


Each year, the President submits a budget request to Congress. It’s known as the President’s Budget, Pres Bud, PB, or the President’s Request. To those in the Executive branch, PB is the party line of what funding is requested for the forthcoming fiscal year. The fiscal year under review in Congress right now is FY23.

The FY23 Pres Bud is, in fact, a request of Congress to fund programs at particular levels. This year, the FY23 Pres Bud was delivered to Congress over 60 days late. As is often the case, it landed with a thud and was quickly derided for its tardiness, poor assumptions, inaccurate inflation factors, and most importantly, flawed decisions on major programs. In short, it’s viewed by Congress as a starting point.

Markup Season in Congress: The 4 Committees


In defense, there are four committees that assess the request and “mark” specific changes. We know the four committees as House and Senate Armed Services (HASC and SASC), and the House and Senate Appropriations Committee Defense Subcommittees (HAC-D and SAC-D). Each committee and subcommittee have further subcommittees that specialize in specific domains of defense such as strategic forces, sea power, and space. 

The subcommittees make very specific additions and deductions to the President’s Request. These changes are not earmarks in that they don’t direct funding to a specific company, but the additions can direct funding to specific capabilities Congress believes worthy of attention. The House and Senate versions of the bills are reconciled through a conferencing process whereby either the mark of the House or Senate prevails in the final bills.

If you are not participating in the legislative phase, you may be missing an early and easy opportunity to position your capability well before the release of an RFP.  Click To Tweet

The deductions and conference outcomes can be a surprise to the industry once finalized, but they should not be a surprise. Too many companies don’t pay attention to this critical phase of the process that will eventually fund contract opportunities. The legislative phase is where the table is actually set before the budget moves into the execution phases of acquisition and contracting.

Markup Season in Congress: An Opportunity for You to Engage in the Legislative Process


Indeed, markup season in Congress is upon us and will unfold over the coming months and will be released publicly between now and Labor Day. Knowing how your programs fare in the markup process can give you an early leg up on your financial plan for next year. It can also signal an opportunity for you to engage in the legislative process to shape and influence a final outcome.

If you are not participating in the legislative phase, you may be missing an early and easy opportunity to position your capability well before the release of an RFP. 

The Make Your Move podcast is a multi-season series devoted to the lessons learned of military members in their post-active duty lives. I hope you enjoy the stories of the men and women brave enough to share their transition stories so publicly. Listen to the latest episode here.

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