Appropriation Rider

An appropriation rider is a colloquialism and hence not defined in statute, rules, or with any real rigor. In describing an appropriation bill, a provision may described as a “rider” if it is not specifically providing an appropriation. Its purpose may be entirely closely linked to an appropriation, such as limiting its applicability, or may be without any relation to appropriations. Riders may be subject to rules prohibiting certain kinds of unrelated matter on appropriations. Clause 2 of rule XXI of the Rules of the House of Representatives has long prohibited “legislating on an appropriation bill”, though this rule is routinely waived.

The rider text added to an appropriation bill will be in the jurisdiction of another committee, which may have sought it’s inclusion. Alternatively, that committee may oppose the addition, and may object. In the House, the Armey Protocol is often used to give the authorizing committee an opportunity to object and strike the provision.

GAO Glossary of Terms and Definition (September 2005)

Appropriation Rider

Sometimes used to refer to (1) a provision that is not directly related to the appropriation to which it is attached or (2) a limitation or requirement in an appropriation act. (See also Limitation.)

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Appropriation Act