The term Appropriations means budget authority to incur obligations and to make payments from the Treasury for specified purposes. An appropriation act is the most common means of providing appropriations; however, authorizing and other legislation itself may provide appropriations.
Appropriations do not represent cash actually set aside in the Treasury for purposes specified in the appropriation act; they represent amounts that agencies may obligate during the period of time specified in the respective appropriation acts. An appropriation may make funds available from the general fund, special funds, or trust funds. Certain types of appropriations are not counted as budget authority because they do not provide authority to incur obligations. Among these are appropriations to liquidate contract authority (legislation to provide funds to pay obligations incurred against contract authority), to redeem outstanding debt (legislation to provide funds for debt retirement), and to refund receipts. Sometimes appropriations are contingent upon the occurrence of some other action specified in the appropriation law, such as the enactment of a subsequent authorization or the fulfillment of some action by the executive branch.
[Derived from the the Budget Authority entry in the GAO Glossary of Terms Used in the Federal Budget Process.]
CRS REports on APPROPRIATIONS Issues
Senate on Appropriations Bills
The Appropriations Committee reviews budget requests from the president, solicits testimony from government officials, and drafts funding legislation that gets reported to the full Senate. The Senate then works with the House to pass all appropriations bills by October 1, the beginning of the fiscal year.
Appropriations Bills Legislation
Tables list appropriations bills, hearings, and reports by fiscal year.
See the Congressional page at Appropriations and Budget.