GAO Glossary of Terms and Definitions (September 2005)

Continuing Appropriation/Continuing Resolution (often referred to simply as “CR”)

An appropriation act that provides budget authority for federal agencies, specific activities, or both to continue in operation when Congress and the President have not completed action on the regular appropriation acts by the beginning of the fiscal year.

Enacted in the form of a joint resolution, a continuing resolution is passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the President. A continuing resolution may be enacted for the full year, up to a specified date, or until regular appropriations are enacted. A continuing resolution usually specifies a maximum rate at which the obligations may be incurred based on levels specified in the resolution. For example, the resolution may state that obligations may not exceed the current rate or must be the lower of the amounts provided in the appropriation bills passed in the House or Senate. If enacted to cover the entire fiscal year, the resolution will usually specify amounts provided for each appropriation account. (See also Appropriation Act; Current Rate; Joint Resolution; Seasonal Rate; Supplemental Appropriation.)

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