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: (http://officeofbudget.od.nih.gov/br.html)

“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.”

Excerpted Example from HHS CJ from FY 2014 Administration on Children, and Families:(https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/olab/fy_2014_cj_final_web_4_25_13.pdf)

“Head Start (+$1.65 billion) – The FY 2014 request for the Head Start program is $9.6 billion, an increase of $1.65 billion from the FY 2012 enacted level. These funds will allow Head Start programs to serve approximately 1,053,000 children by providing new opportunities for working parents to enroll their infants and toddlers in high quality early learning and development programs through the Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership proposal. The Budget supports implementation of new regulations that require low-performing grantees to compete for continued funding. Funding is requested to minimize the disruption of services to Head Start children and families during the transition period to new Head Start provider. The FY 2014 request focuses on improving program quality and ensuring that funds are directed towards the organizations most capable of providing high quality early education that can put children on a path to school success and opportunity.”