A rescission bill is a measure which has the primary purpose of cancelling (“rescinding”) previously appropriated budget authority.
Definition of Rescission Bill
A rescission bill is defined by section 1011 of the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 as follows:
(3) “rescission bill” means a bill or joint resolution which only rescinds in whole or in part, budget authority proposed to be rescinded in a special message transmitted by the President under section 1012, and upon which the Congress completes action before the end of the first period of 45 calendar days of continuous session of the Congress after the date on which the President’s message is received by the Congress;
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A bill or joint resolution to cancel, in whole or in part, budget authority previously enacted by law. Rescissions proposed by the President must be transmitted in a special message to Congress. Under section 1012 of the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 (2 U.S.C. § 683), unless both houses of Congress complete action on a rescission bill within 45 calendar days of continuous session after receipt of the proposal, the budget authority must be made available for obligation.
[This definition is from the GAO Glossary entry for “Rescission”.]