At 7 a.m. Monday, the Government Publishing Office's trucks will be raring to go, filled with thousands of copies, totalling millions of pages, of a new publication precious few have been allowed to see: a hard-copy outline of President Obama's hopes and dreams.
By 8 a.m., print versions of Obama's fiscal 2016 budget submission will be at the Office of Management and Budget and on Capitol Hill, where cameras will await—an annual only-in-Washington media ritual.
GPO's digital team, meanwhile, will be standing by, watching the clock tick to 11:30 a.m., the moment when the budget can enter the public domain electronically. It'll take them about 10 seconds to move the files from an internal test environment into a format the world can see.
Crafting the proposed budget involves countless meetings and intense analysis, a process that starts almost as soon as the last one ends. Once it's written—the proposed money allocated down to the dollar—it's turned over to GPO, which is charged with producing the expansive document and its appendix, analysis, and accompanying historical tables.
"We know when it's coming [every year]," Ric Davis, GPO's chief technology officer, said, "but at the same time—and even though we know what we're doing, and we know the process and generally the same people are here—there is still a lot of work involved just to make sure that we get it absolutely right."