[Washington, D.C.] : Congressional Research Service, November 30, 2016.
Book — 1 online resource (21 pages). Digital: text file.
"Congress annually considers several appropriations measures, which provide discretionary funding for numerous activities--for example, national defense, education, and homeland security--as well as general government operations. Congress has developed certain rules and practices for the consideration of appropriations measures, referred to as the congressional appropriations process. The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of this process. Appropriations measures are under the jurisdiction of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. In recent years these measures have provided approximately 35% to 39% of total federal spending. The remainder of federal spending comprises direct (or mandatory) spending, controlled by House and Senate legislative committees, and net interest on the public debt. The annual appropriations cycle is initiated with the President's budget submission, which is due on the first Monday in February. This is followed by congressional consideration of a budget resolution that, in part, sets spending ceilings for the upcoming fiscal year. The target date for completion of the budget resolution is April 15. Committee and floor consideration of the annual appropriations bills occurs during the spring and summer months and may continue through the fall and winter until annual appropriations are enacted. Floor consideration of appropriations measures is subject to procedural rules that may limit the content of those measures and any amendments thereto. Congress has established a process that provides for two separate types of measures associated with discretionary spending: authorization bills and appropriation bills. These measures perform different functions. Authorization bills establish, continue, or modify agencies or programs. Appropriations measures subsequently provide funding for the agencies and programs authorized. 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, the beginning of the fiscal year. If regular bills are not enacted by the beginning of the new fiscal year, Congress adopts continuing resolutions to continue funding, generally until regular bills are enacted. Supplemental appropriations bills provide additional appropriations to become available during a fiscal year. Budget enforcement for appropriations measures under the congressional budget process has both statutory and procedural elements. The statutory elements are derived from the Budget Control Act of 2011, which imposes limits on discretionary spending for each of the fiscal years between FY2012 and FY2021. The procedural elements generally stem from requirements under the Congressional Budget Act that are normally associated with the budget resolution. Through this Budget Act process, the Appropriations Committee in each chamber, as well as each of their subcommittees, receives procedural limits on the total amount of budget authority for the upcoming fiscal year (referred to as 302(a) and 302(b) allocations). Enforcement of the statutory limits occurs primarily through sequestration, while enforcement of the procedural limits occurs through points of order. Discretionary appropriations may be designated or otherwise provided so that they are effectively exempt from statutory and procedural budget enforcement. Such designations include "emergency requirements, " "overseas contingency operations/global war on terrorism, " and for "disaster relief." Rescissions are provisions of law that cancel previously enacted budget authority. As budget authority providing the funding must be enacted into law, so too a rescission cancelling the budget authority must be enacted into law. Rescissions can be included either in separate rescission measures or any of the three types of appropriations measures."--PDF page 2.