Appropriations Process

An appropriations measure provides budget authority to an agency for specified purposes. Budget authority allows federal agencies to incur obligations and authorizes payments to be made out of the Treasury. Discretionary agencies and programs, and appropriated entitlement programs, are funded each year in appropriations acts.

The subcommittees of the Appropriations Committees of the House and Senate are each responsible for one of the regular appropriations acts. The regular appropriations acts provide budget authority for the next fiscal year, beginning October 1. Congress usually adopts one or more supplemental appropriations acts to provide additional funding for unexpected needs while the fiscal year is in progress. If the regular appropriation acts are not completed by October 1, then Congress must adopt a continuing appropriations act, commonly referred to as a continuing resolution, providing stop-gap funding. In some years, instead of adopting the regular appropriation measures individually, Congress may include several in an omnibus appropriations measure, or a continuing appropriations bill providing funding for the full fiscal year.

To learn more about the federal authorization-appropriations process please click here to download a CRS report. To learn more about congressionally-directed funding please send an e-mail to

For more information contact:

Nikki Baker, Interim Director of Strategic Initiatives
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
303 Mossman Building
P.O. Box 26170
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170
336.209.1643 Phone
336.256.0408 Fax