302(a) allocations are the spending amounts set by the House and Senate Budget Committees for their respective Appropriations Committees upon passage of a budget resolution.
Both mandatory and discretionary spending recommendations in the budget resolution are established through the use of 20 categories, known as “budget functions,” that encompass a general purpose, such as national defense or transportation. Budget function 500 includes funding for the Department of Education as well as other education and training programs housed in other agencies. After Congress passes a budget resolution, all mandatory and discretionary spending levels set in each of the budget functions are allocated to the Congressional committees (such as the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee) with jurisdiction over the programs within the functions. Each committee receives one spending allocation (called a 302(a) allocation) for the years covered in the resolution. Proposed legislation that exceeds a committee’s 302(a) allocation could face procedural hurdles during consideration in the House or Senate. These procedural hurdles are included in various federal budget laws and the budget resolution itself.
For fiscal year 2014, the 302(a) allocation set by the Budget Control Act of 2011 and subsequent budget deals is $966.9 billion.
See also: 302(b) Allocations