Money Power

Author: Sylvia Kniest

Time: 2 class periods
Lecture on the budget process
Materials: Copy instructions for the computer lab


Students will participate in an energy department meeting in order to help the president develop his energy policy and the budget for the department.

Students will be able to:
1. Explain the priorities of the energy department for the next fiscal year.
2. Discuss the budget process and the role the executive departments have in the process.

National Standards For Civics and Government
- III-b How is the national government organized and what does it do?

Teacher Background
Explain the role of the executive departments in the budget process and the difference between discretionary and mandatory spending. The following URL is particularly useful: www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/RS20152.pdf

Resource Websites
http://www.mbe.doe.gov/budget/05budget/index.htm (Energy Budget request)



Day 1: Copy and hand out the following instructions for the computer lab.
Students should go to the web page that displays the Energy Departments 2005 budget request: http://www.mbe.doe.gov/budget/05budget/index.htm

  • click on budget highlights
  • click on introduction
    1. What are the department’s primary goals?
  • click on setting priorities
    2. What is the total budget request for the next fiscal year?
  • click on the following pages to answer the questions that follow:
    Energy Strategic Goal
    Environment Strategic Goal
    Defense Strategic Goal
    What is the major goal of each?
  • click on budget by organization
    3. Which programs receive the greatest amount of funding?
    4. Imagine that the President has announced a cut back on discretionary spending which will impact the Energy Department’s budget request for the next fiscal year. In order to determine how you will adjust your departments budget request, prioritize the following categories in order of importance:
    Energy, Environment, National Nuclear Security Administration, Corporate Management
    5. State which is your top priority and why.
    6. State where you could cut and why.

Activity 2:

We're heading into a new era. We've got to think new. We've got to be ready for the 21st Century... And a 21st Century energy policy says this country must develop and deploy the latest technology to provide a new generation, a different kind of energy, new sources of energy, cleaner and more efficient energy sources.

President George W. Bush
October 2003

1. Have students work in small groups to write a proposal for the President’s energy policy that addresses the main points stated above. Proposals should include the following:

Mission Statement:
Budget Proposal:
Big Idea (exactly how will the energy department deal with the energy demands of the nation?):
Name the individuals who must approve this proposal:

2. Each group will share their energy proposal with the class.

1. What major concerns must be considered when an executive department initiates policy?
2. Who approves the budget proposal?
3. How does an executive agency initiate public policy?

Embedded Assessment
Group proposals on energy policy


Embedded Assessment

PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

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Last update: November 10, 2009
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