Budget Counsel Reference Directory



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.]

See also:

Major Appropriations Laws
GAO Principles of Appropriation Law
GPO Links for Appropriations Law
OMB Seven-Day After Reports (as required by the BEA 1990)


CRS – Continuing Resolutions: Overview of Components and Recent Practices(R42647) January 14, 2016 

CRS – Advance Appropriations, Forward Funding, and Advance Funding: Concepts, Practice, and Budget Process Considerations (R43482) October 8, 2015

CRS – Limitations in Appropriations Measures an Overview of Procedural Issues (R41634) November 30, 2016

CRS – Overview of the Authorization – Appropriations Process (RS20371) November 26, 2012

CRS – Omnibus Appropriations Acts: Overview of Recent Practices (RL32473) January 14, 2016

CRS – The Congressional Appropriations Process – An Introduction (R42388) November 14, 2014

CRS – Regular Appropriations Bills Terms of Initial Consideration and Amendment in the House (FY1996-FY2015) (R42933) March 6, 2015

CRS – Appropriations Subcommittee Structure: History of Changes from 1920 to 2015 (RL31572) October 13, 2015

CRS – Appropriations Subcommittee Structure – History of Changes from 1920 to 2015 (RL31572) October 13, 2015

CRS – Emergency Designation: Current Budget Rules and Procedures (R41564) January 6, 2011 

CRS – Allocations and Subdivisions in the Congressional Budget Process (RS20144) November 29, 2010

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

FY2017 FY2016 FY2015 FY2014
FY2013 FY2012 FY2011 FY2010
FY2009 FY2008 FY2007 FY2006
FY2005 FY2004 FY2003 FY2002
FY2001 FY2000 FY1999 FY1998
FY1997 FY1996 FY1995 FY1994
FY1993 FY1992 FY1991 FY1990
FY1989 FY1988 FY1987 FY1986

Deschler’s Precedents

Deschler’s Precedents – Volume 7 (Chapter 25 – Appropriation Bills)


§003. Adjustments


§005. Authorizations

[BCR §004]