Continuing Appropriations Acts: Brief Overview of Recent Practices [Updated November 30, 2004]   [open pdf - 73KB]

"Traditionally, most of the operations of federal departments and agencies are funded each year through separate enactment of 13 regular appropriations acts. Since these measures expire at the end of the fiscal year, the regular appropriations bills for the subsequent fiscal year must be enacted by October 1. However, one or more regular appropriations bills are typically delayed beyond the deadline. When this occurs, the affected departments and agencies are generally funded under temporary continuing appropriations acts until the final funding decisions are enacted. Because continuing appropriations acts typically are enacted in the form of joint resolutions, such acts are referred to as continuing resolutions (or CRs). [...] Over the years, delay in the enactment of regular appropriations measures and continuing resolutions after the beginning of the fiscal year has led to periods during which appropriations authority has lapsed. Such periods generally are referred to as funding gaps. Since only four FY2005 regular appropriations bills have become law, Congress and the President have completed action on two FY2005 CRs (P.L. 108-309 and P.L. 108-416), which sequentially extend funding for the nine outstanding FY2005 regular appropriations bills from October 1, 2004, through December 3, 2004. Congress completed action on a third continuing resolution (H.J.Res. 115), which would extend funding through December 8, 2004. The President has not acted on the measure."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL30343
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