Cyclopedia of Congressional Budget Law

Appropriation Act


An appropriation Act as broad definition is any law allowing funds to be drawn from the U.S. Treasury, but as a formal matter its applicable definition is much narrower and indicates a measure that becomes law that properly enacted by appropriations measures under the jurisdiction of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. While other measures can contain “permanent indefinite” appropriations, they are not considered “appropriation Acts” under this definition.

Under section 105 of title I of the U.S. Code, an appropriation Act is titled is as follows: 


The style and title of all Acts making appropriations for the support of Government shall be as follows: “An Act making appropriations (here insert the object) for the year ending September 30 (here insert the calendar year).”

House Practice on Appropriations

See also House Practice:

Chapter 4. Appropriations; House Practice – A Guide to the Rules, Precedents, and Procedures of the House (115th Congress)

GAO Glossary of Terms and Definition (September 2005)

Appropriation Act

A statute, under the jurisdiction of the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations, that generally provides legal authority for federal agencies to incur obligations and to make payments out of the Treasury for specified purposes. An appropriation act fulfills the requirement of Article I, Section 9, of the U.S. Constitution, which provides that “no money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” Under the rules of both houses, an appropriation act should follow enactment of authorizing legislation. (See also Appropriations under Forms of Budget Authority under Budget AuthorityAuthorizing LegislationLimitation.)

Major types of appropriation acts are regular, supplemental, deficiency, and continuing. Regular appropriation acts are all appropriation acts that are not supplemental, deficiency, or continuing. Currently, regular annual appropriation acts that provide funding for the continued operation of federal departments, agencies, and various government activities are considered by Congress annually. From time to time, supplemental appropriation acts are also enacted. When action on regular appropriation bills is not completed before the beginning of the fiscal year, a continuing resolution (often referred to simply as “CR”) may be enacted in a bill or joint resolution to provide funding for the affected agencies for the full year, up to a specified date, or until their regular appropriations are enacted. A deficiency appropriation act provides budget authority to cover obligations incurred in excess of available budget authority.

(See also Continuing Appropriation/Continuing ResolutionSupplemental AppropriationDeficiency Appropriation.)

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Appropriated Mandatory


Appropriation Rider