The Congressional Appropriations Process: An Introduction Page: 2 of 32
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The Congressional Appropriations Process:
Congress annually considers 11 or more appropriations measures, which provide
funding for numerous activities, for example, national defense, education, homeland
security, and crime. These measures also fund general government operations such
as the administration of federal agencies. Congress has developed certain rules and
practices for the consideration of appropriations measures, referred to as the
congressional appropriations process.
Appropriations measures are under the jurisdiction of the House and Senate
Appropriations Committees. These committees control only about 40% of total
federal spending provided for a fiscal year. The House and Senate legislative
committees control the rest.
There are three types of appropriations measures. Regular appropriations bills
provide most of the funding that is provided in all appropriations measures for a
fiscal year, and must be enacted by October 1 of each year. If regular bills are not
enacted by the deadline, Congress adopts continuing resolutions to continue funding
generally until regular bills are enacted. Supplemental bills are considered later and
provide additional appropriations.
Each year Congress considers a budget resolution that, in part, sets spending
ceilings for the upcoming fiscal year. Both the House and Senate have established
parliamentary rules that may be used to enforce certain spending ceilings associated
with the annual budget resolution during congressional consideration of
Congress has also established an authorization-appropriation process which
provides for two separate types of measures - authorization measures and
appropriation measures. These measures perform different functions and are to be
considered in sequence. First, the authorization measure is considered and then the
appropriation measure. Authorization measures are under the jurisdiction of the
legislative committees, most congressional committees are legislative committees,
such as the House Committee on Armed Services and the Senate Committee on the
Judiciary. This process is enforced, in part, by House and Senate parliamentary rules.
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The Congressional Appropriations Process: An Introduction, report, December 8, 2006; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc805858/m1/2/: accessed January 16, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.