Cyclopedia of Congressional Budget Law
Program, Project, or Activity (PPA)
The phrase program, project or activity is not specifically defined but is important in referring to the Federal Government’s responsibilities under the law. A PPA is not synonymous for funding out of a particular account or even subaccount, but rather is determined how the operations of a government agency is carried out.
GAO Glossary of Terms and Definition (September 2005)
Program, Project, or Activity (PPA)
An element within a budget account. For annually appropriated accounts, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and agencies identify PPAs by reference to committee reports and budget justifications; for permanent appropriations, OMB and agencies identify PPAs by the program and financing schedules that the President provides in the “Detailed Budget Estimates” in the budget submission for the relevant fiscal year. Program activity structures are intended to provide a meaningful representation of the operations financed by a specific budget account—usually by project, activity, or organization.
PPAs as Defined by the Conference Report on BBEDCA
Joint Explanatory Statement of the Committee Of Conference
H. Rept. 99-4333 (99th Congress)
1. Sequestration by Programs, Projects, and Activities
Section 252 of the House-passed bill defines and determines the procedures for the “Presidential Order”: Paragraph C of that Section provides that sequestration for funds provided in annual appropriations acts shall be applied to “each affected program, project, and activity (as defined in the most recently enacted applicable appropriations acts and accompanying committee reports for the program, project, or activity in question-including joint resolutions providing continuing appropriations and committee reports accompanying acts referenced in such resolutions).”
Since most appropriations acts were already reported by the time this legislation was being developed, a provision was included to allow the Appropriations Committees to define for Fiscal Year 1986 “programs, projects, and activities.” The provision is as follows:
“For purposes of applying this Section and Section 251 with respect to the Fiscal Year 1986, the Committees on Appropriation of the House of Representatives and the Senate may define the term “program, project, and activity” with respect to matters within their jurisdiction, for purposes of implementing the provisions of this Section with respect to the Fiscal Year 1986. The order issued by the President shall sequester funds in accordance with such definitions.”
Further language was also adopted in the House-passed bill that stated that the sequestration order would have no effect unless it reduced all programs, projects, and activities proportionately.
The Senate amendment included language similar to the House, which provides for sequestration “from each affected program, project, or activity (as defined in the most recently enacted relevant appropriations acts and accompanying committee reports).”
The conference agreement provides that sequestration shall apply at the program, project, or activity level as set forth in the most recently enacted applicable appropriations acts and accompanying committee reports for the program, project, or activity involved, including joint resolutions providing continuing appropriations and committee reports accompanying acts referred to in such resolutions. For programs which are not defined at the program, project, or activity level, the sequestration would be applied at the account level.
For FY 1986 a special provision is included, similar to the House provision which allows the Committees on Appropriations to define program, project, and activity” and issue a report to their respective Houses. The Presidential sequestration order would have to be in accordance with such a definition.
In accordance with provisions in both the House and Senate bills, no action under sequestration can be taken by the President which would have the effect of eliminating any program, project, or activity of the Federal government.
[Joint Explanatory Statement on the Committee of Conference Report on the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, H.J. Res. 372; H. Rept. 99-433 (Conference Report), Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, 99th Congress, 2d Session, December 10, 1985.]
PPA Definition Included in Department of Defense Statement of Managers
Conference reports on the annual defense appropriations bills regularly includethe following statement: :
DEFINITION OF PROGRAM, PROJECT, AND ACTIVITY
For the purposes of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (Public Law 99-1 77), as amended by the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Reaffirmation Act of 1987 (Public Law 100-119), and by the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-508), the terms “program, project, and activity” for appropriations contained in this Act shall be defined as the most specific level of budget items identified in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2019, the related classified annexes and explanatory statements, and the P-1 and R-1 budget justification documents as subsequently modified by congressional action.
The following exception to the above definition shall apply: the military personnel and the operation and maintenance accounts, for which the term “program, project, and activity” is defined as the appropriations accounts contained in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act. At the time the President submits the budget request for fiscal year 2020, the Secretary of Defense is directed to transmit to the congressional defense committees budget justification documents to be known as the “M-1” and the “0-1” which shall identify, at the budget activity, activity group, and sub-activity group level, the amounts requested by the President to be appropriated to the Department of Defense for military personnel and operation and maintenance in any budget request, or amended budget request, for fiscal year 2020.