GAO Glossary of Terms and Definitions (September 2005)


The action by which the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) distributes amounts available for obligation, including budgetary reserves established pursuant to law, in an appropriation or fund account. An apportionment divides amounts available for obligation by specific time periods (usually quarters), activities, projects, objects, or a combination thereof. The amounts so apportioned limit the amount of obligations that may be incurred. An apportionment may be further subdivided by an agency into allotments, suballotments, and allocations. In apportioning any account, some funds may be reserved to provide for contingencies or to effect savings made possible pursuant to the Antideficiency Act. Funds apportioned to establish a reserve must be proposed for deferral or rescission pursuant to the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 (2 U.S.C. §§ 681–688).

The apportionment process is intended to (1) prevent the obligation of amounts available within an appropriation or fund account in a manner that would require deficiency or supplemental appropriations and (2) achieve the most effective and economical use of amounts made available for obligation. (See also Administrative Division or Subdivision of Funds; Allotment; Antideficiency Act; Appropriated Entitlement; Budgetary Reserves; Deferral of Budget Authority; Deficiency Apportionment; Deficiency Appropriation; Limitation; Reapportionment; Rescission; Supplemental Appropriation.)

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Antideficiency Act Violation


Appropriated Entitlement