Bureau of Reclamation Banner
This information is intended to convey the underlying concepts for Reclamation's decision processes. It is not mandatory.
See the Reclamation Manual for official Reclamation-wide requirements.

Reclamation's Decision Process Guide

Balance of Power

go through page How It Works / Branches / Go On

pretty border

navigate in the page--How It Works

Power ultimately rests with the people under our Constitution. People elect the Congress and President to represent them. People may seek satisfaction through the judicial system if they believe that the laws are not being carried out in accordance with the Constitution.

click for comics

(See the simple version)

The President develops a program through initiatives and Executive Orders. Reclamation working with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) (which serves as a fiscal legislative watchdog) can originate laws authorizing activities. These are then presented to the Congress. Congress can also initiate authorizations, usually in response to an interest group working with members of the Congress to implement a general policy or achieve specific purposes.

Through this system, the people play a pivotal role in resource allocation and management decisions. Individuals and organizations who think we should be doing something differently can challenge the processes or decisions through the courts, lobby the Congress to change the laws, or write the President about his policies.

pretty border

navigate in the page--Branches of Government

Important checks and balances operate between the three branches of government to determine Reclamation's policy and actions.

Executive branch
The people elect the President who then appoints the Secretary of the Interior and the Commissioner of Reclamation to carry out the administration's policy within their areas of responsibility.

The President signs the bills into law. Reclamation is an agency of the executive branch and carries out the laws of the land concerned with water and related resources in the West.

Legislative branch
The people elect congressional representatives who shape Reclamation's priorities and policies by passing legislation which determines funding and authority. The House and Senate pass bills for the President to sign. These laws grant authority and appropriate funds for Reclamation to undertake resource management activities.
Judicial branch
The people bring cases to court so that judicial decisions can interpret legislation--further establishing policy and compliance with the powers granted by the constitution. Interested private parties may use the courts to seek clarification of the law's application when specific programs or projects are perceived to be in conflict with other, more general laws or the constitution itself.

pretty border

navigate in the page--Go On

Dragon Tour wide-eyed dragon on the loose -------> Budget Process

pretty border


NextBudget Process

Please contact Deena Larsen 303-445-2584 with questions or comments on this material.