The contingent fund is an account in the U.S. Senate that is used for miscellaneous expenses, most often related to administrative functions of the Senate
Cyclopedia of Congressional Budget Law
The contingent fund is an account in the U.S. Senate with appropriated funds authorized to be used for usually administrative Senate activity, though unspecified in permanent law. The uses for which the fund has been used include committee staff support oriented purposes such as investigations, the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, the Office of the Secretary of the Senate, the Office of the Senate Sergeant at Arms, the Senate Doorkeeper, the Official Personnel and Office Expense Account of the Senate. Other costs involve office-like purposes such as stationery for Senate offices and official mail costs.
The outlays disbursed from the Contingent Fund account are made for usually comprise identified purposes and limits on the time available. The funding may be used for unanticipated costs of activities authorized in Senate resolutions and public laws but for which specific appropriations have not been specified. The fund is typically accessed by measures (Senate resolutions or public laws) identifying the activities to be paid for from the Contingent Fund.
The House had a corresponding fund before it was eliminated in 1995.
Example of use of Contingent Fund
Section 202 (CBA) for the Congressional Budget Office:
(g) Appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated to the Office for each fiscal year such sums as may be necessary to enable it to carry out its duties and functions.Until sums are first appropriated pursuant to the preceding sentence, but for a period not exceeding 12 months following the effective date of this subsection, the expenses of the Office shall be paid from the contingent fund of the Senate, in accordance with the paragraph relating to the contingent fund of the Sen- ate under the heading “UNDER LEGISLATIVE” in the Act of October 1, 1888 (28 Stat. 546; 2 U.S.C. 68)Footnote, and upon vouchers approved by the Director.
Footnote: This section is based on the provisions of the last paragraph of 25 Stat. 546, Act of Oct. 2, 1888. It related to payments from the contingent fund of Senate. Those provisions relating to payments from the contingent fund of House of Representatives were repealed by Pub. L. 104–186.
2 U.S.C. 6868 was editorially reclassified as 2 U.S.C 6503:
“§6503. Payments from Senate contingent fund.
“No payment shall be made from the contingent fund of the Senate un- less sanctioned by the Committee on Rules and Administration of the Senate. Payments made upon vouchers or abstracts of disbursements of salaries approved by said Committee shall be deemed, held, and taken, and are declared to be conclusive upon all the departments and officers of the Government: Provided, That no payment shall be made from said contingent fund as additional salary or compensation to any officer or employee of the Senate.”