Continuing Resolutions: Overview of Components and Recent Practices

Congress uses an annual appropriations process to fund the routine activities of most federal agencies. This process anticipates the completion of 12 regular appropriations bills to fund these activities before the beginning of the fiscal year. Over the past half century, the timing of congressional action on regular appropriations bills has varied considerably, but enactment after the start of the fiscal year has been a recurring issue. Until regular appropriations for a fiscal year are enacted, one or more continuing appropriations acts (commonly known as continuing resolutions or CRs) can be used to provide funding for a specified period of time.

Under recent congressional practice, CRs typically include as many as six main components. First, CRs provide funding for certain activities, which are typically specified with reference to the prior fiscal year’s appropriations acts. This is referred to in this report as the CR’s coverage. Second, CRs provide budget authority for a specified duration of time. This duration may be as short as a single day or as long as the remainder of the fiscal year. Third, CRs typically provide funds based on an overall funding rate. Fourth, the use of budget authority provided in the CR is typically prohibited for new activities not funded in the previous fiscal year. Fifth, the duration and amount of funds in the CR, and purposes for which they may be used for specified activities, may be adjusted through anomalies. Sixth, legislative provisions—which create, amend, or extend other laws—have been included in some instances.

Between FY1977 and FY2016 (excluding the four fiscal years in which all appropriations were enacted on time), over half of the regular appropriations bills for a fiscal year were enacted on time in only one instance (FY1978). In all other fiscal years, fewer than six regular appropriations acts were enacted on or before October 1. In addition, in 14 out of the 40 years during this period, none of these regular appropriations bills were enacted prior to the start of the fiscal year. Nine of these fiscal years have occurred in the interval since FY2001. For further information, see Table 1.

In the interval since FY1997—the most recent fiscal year that all regular appropriations bills were completed on time—CRs have been enacted on average almost six times per fiscal year. During this period, CRs provided funding for an average of almost five months each fiscal year. For further information, see Table 2 and Figure 1.

Congress has employed full-year CRs on a number of occasions. For each of the 11 fiscal years covering FY1978-FY1988, Congress enacted a full-year CR covering at least one regular appropriations act. Three years later, Congress enacted another full-year CR for FY1992. Most recently, full-year CRs were enacted for FY2007, FY2011, and FY2013. The budget authority in these full-year CRs was also provided in different forms. The 10 full-year CRs for FY1980 through FY1984, FY1992, FY2007, FY2011, and FY2013 included formulaic provisions that provided funding for at least one of the covered appropriations acts. The full-year CRs for FY1985 through FY1988, by contrast, did not use formulaic provisions but instead specified amounts for each account. For further information, see Table 3.

For a list of all continuing resolutions enacted since FY1977, see Table 4 at the end of this report.

This report will be updated after the annual appropriations process for a fiscal year has concluded.

Continuing Resolutions: Overview of Components and Recent Practices

January 14, 2016 (R42647)
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Contents

Summary

Congress uses an annual appropriations process to fund the routine activities of most federal agencies. This process anticipates the completion of 12 regular appropriations bills to fund these activities before the beginning of the fiscal year. Over the past half century, the timing of congressional action on regular appropriations bills has varied considerably, but enactment after the start of the fiscal year has been a recurring issue. Until regular appropriations for a fiscal year are enacted, one or more continuing appropriations acts (commonly known as continuing resolutions or CRs) can be used to provide funding for a specified period of time.

Under recent congressional practice, CRs typically include as many as six main components. First, CRs provide funding for certain activities, which are typically specified with reference to the prior fiscal year's appropriations acts. This is referred to in this report as the CR's coverage. Second, CRs provide budget authority for a specified duration of time. This duration may be as short as a single day or as long as the remainder of the fiscal year. Third, CRs typically provide funds based on an overall funding rate. Fourth, the use of budget authority provided in the CR is typically prohibited for new activities not funded in the previous fiscal year. Fifth, the duration and amount of funds in the CR, and purposes for which they may be used for specified activities, may be adjusted through anomalies. Sixth, legislative provisions—which create, amend, or extend other laws—have been included in some instances.

Between FY1977 and FY2016 (excluding the four fiscal years in which all appropriations were enacted on time), over half of the regular appropriations bills for a fiscal year were enacted on time in only one instance (FY1978). In all other fiscal years, fewer than six regular appropriations acts were enacted on or before October 1. In addition, in 14 out of the 40 years during this period, none of these regular appropriations bills were enacted prior to the start of the fiscal year. Nine of these fiscal years have occurred in the interval since FY2001. For further information, see Table 1.

In the interval since FY1997—the most recent fiscal year that all regular appropriations bills were completed on time—CRs have been enacted on average almost six times per fiscal year. During this period, CRs provided funding for an average of almost five months each fiscal year. For further information, see Table 2 and Figure 1.

Congress has employed full-year CRs on a number of occasions. For each of the 11 fiscal years covering FY1978-FY1988, Congress enacted a full-year CR covering at least one regular appropriations act. Three years later, Congress enacted another full-year CR for FY1992. Most recently, full-year CRs were enacted for FY2007, FY2011, and FY2013. The budget authority in these full-year CRs was also provided in different forms. The 10 full-year CRs for FY1980 through FY1984, FY1992, FY2007, FY2011, and FY2013 included formulaic provisions that provided funding for at least one of the covered appropriations acts. The full-year CRs for FY1985 through FY1988, by contrast, did not use formulaic provisions but instead specified amounts for each account. For further information, see Table 3.

For a list of all continuing resolutions enacted since FY1977, see Table 4 at the end of this report.

This report will be updated after the annual appropriations process for a fiscal year has concluded.


Continuing Resolutions: Overview of Components and Recent Practices

Introduction

Congress uses an annual appropriations process to fund the routine activities of most federal agencies.1 This process anticipates the enactment of 12 regular appropriations bills to fund these activities before the beginning of the fiscal year.2 When this process is delayed beyond the start of the fiscal year, one or more continuing appropriations acts (commonly known as continuing resolutions or CRs)3 can be used to provide funding until action on regular appropriations is completed.

Over the past half century, the timing of congressional action on regular appropriations bills has varied considerably, but their enactment after the start of the fiscal year has been a recurring issue. During the 25-year period covering FY1952-FY1976, when the fiscal year began on July 1, at least one regular appropriations bill was enacted after the fiscal year began. At the end of this period, the start of the fiscal year was moved from July 1 to October 1 by the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-344; 88 Stat. 297).4 When the act was fully implemented for FY1977, all of the regular appropriations bills for that fiscal year were enacted on time. Since FY1977, however, all of the regular appropriations bills were enacted before the beginning of the fiscal year in only three additional instances (FY1989, FY1995, and FY1997).5

Agencies are generally prohibited from obligating or expending federal funds6 in the absence of appropriations.7 When appropriations for a particular project or activity are not enacted into law, a "funding gap" occurs until such appropriations are provided. When a funding gap occurs, federal agencies must begin a "shutdown"8 of the affected projects and activities.9

To prevent the occurrence of funding gaps after the start of the fiscal year until the annual appropriations process is completed, a CR can be used to provide temporary funding. Such funding is provided for a specified period of time, which may be extended through the enactment of subsequent CRs. During the 25 fiscal years covering FY1952-FY1976, one or more CRs were enacted for all but one fiscal year (FY1953).10 Since FY1977, all of the regular appropriations acts were completed before the start of the fiscal year in only four instances—FY1977, FY1989, FY1995, and FY1997.11 Consequently, one or more CRs were needed to prevent a funding gap each of the other fiscal years during this period. In total, 175 CRs were enacted into law during the period covering FY1977-FY2016, ranging from zero to 21 in any single fiscal year. On average, about four CRs were enacted each fiscal year during this interval.

The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the components of CRs and a longitudinal analysis of recent congressional practices. Consequently, the data and analysis in this report are inclusive of all appropriations acts entitled or otherwise designated as providing continuing appropriations.12 The first section of this report explains six of the possible main components of CRs: coverage, duration, funding rate, restrictions on new activities, anomalies, and legislative provisions. The second section discusses the enactment of regular appropriations prior to the start of the fiscal year and the number of regular appropriations bills enacted through a CR since FY1977. The third section analyzes variations in the number and duration of CRs enacted each fiscal year since FY1997, the most recent fiscal year that all regular appropriations were enacted on time. Finally, the fourth section of this report discusses the features of the 15 CRs that provided funding through the remainder of the fiscal year since FY1977. A list of all CRs enacted between FY1977 and FY2016 is provided at the end of this report in Table 4.

Main Components of Continuing Resolutions

Under recent congressional practice, CRs typically include as many as six main components. First, CRs provide funding for certain activities, which are typically specified with reference to the prior or current fiscal year's appropriations acts. This is referred to in this report as the CR's coverage. Second, CRs provide budget authority for a specified duration of time.13 This duration may be as short as a single day or as long as the remainder of the fiscal year. Third, CRs typically provide funds based on an overall funding rate. Fourth, the use of budget authority provided in the CR is typically prohibited for new activities not funded in the previous fiscal year. Fifth, the duration and amount of funds in the CR, and purposes for which they may be used for specified activities, may be adjusted through anomalies. Sixth, legislative provisions—which create, amend, or extend other laws—have been included in some instances.

Although this section discusses the above components as they have been enacted in CRs under recent practice, it does not discuss their potential effects on budget execution or agency operations. For analysis of these issues, see CRS Report RL34700, Interim Continuing Resolutions (CRs): Potential Impacts on Agency Operations, by [author name scrubbed].

Coverage

A CR provides funds for certain activities, which are typically specified with reference to other pieces of appropriations legislation or the appropriations acts for a previous fiscal year. This is referred to in this report as the CR's "coverage." Most often, the coverage of a CR is defined with reference to the activities funded in prior fiscal years' appropriations acts for which the current fiscal year's regular appropriations have yet to be enacted. For example, in Section 101 of P.L. 111-68 (the first CR for FY2010), the coverage included activities funded in selected regular and supplemental appropriations acts for FY2008 and FY2009:

Sec. 101. Such amounts as may be necessary… under the authority and conditions provided in such Acts, for continuing projects or activities (including the costs of direct loans and loan guarantees) that are not otherwise specifically provided for in this joint resolution, that were conducted in fiscal year 2009, and for which appropriations, funds, or other authority were made available in the following appropriations Acts:

(1) Chapter 2 of title IX of the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008 (P.L. 110-252).

(2) Section 155 of division A of the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 110-329), except that subsections (c), (d), and (e) of such section shall not apply to funds made available under this joint resolution.

(3) Divisions C through E of the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 110-329).

(4) Divisions A through I of the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 111-8), as amended by section 2 of P.L. 111-46.

(5) Titles III and VI (under the heading `Coast Guard') of the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 111-32). [emphasis added]

Less frequently, CRs specify coverage with reference to regular appropriations bills for the current fiscal year that have yet to be enacted.14 In these instances, it is possible that an activity covered in the corresponding previous fiscal year's appropriations bill might not be covered in the CR. Alternatively, a CR might stipulate that activities funded in the previous fiscal year are covered only if they are included in a regular appropriations bill for the current fiscal year. For example, Section 101 of P.L. 105-240, the first CR for FY1999, provided that funding would continue only under such circumstances.

SEC. 101. (a) Such amounts as may be necessary under the authority and conditions provided in the applicable appropriations Act for the fiscal year 1998 for continuing projects or activities including the costs of direct loans and loan guarantees (not otherwise specifically provided for in this joint resolution) which were conducted in the fiscal year 1998 and for which appropriations, funds, or other authority would be available in the following appropriations Acts:

(1) the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999….

(8) the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999, the House and Senate reported versions of which shall be deemed to have passed the House and Senate respectively as of October 1, 1998, for the purposes of this joint resolution, unless a reported version is passed as of October 1, 1998, in which case the passed version shall be used in place of the reported version for purposes of this joint resolution;

(9) the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 1999…. [emphasis added]

CRs may be enacted as stand-alone legislative vehicles or as provisions attached to a regular appropriations bill or an omnibus bill.15 In instances in which one or more regular appropriations bills are near completion, Congress may find it expeditious to include a CR in that same legislative vehicle to cover activities in the remaining regular bills that are not yet enacted. In such instances, some activities may be covered by reference while funding for others is provided through the text of the measure. For example, Division D of P.L. 112-55, the third CR for FY2012, provided continuing appropriations through December 16, 2011, by referencing the FY2011 regular appropriations acts, while the other parts of P.L. 112-55 contained the full text of the FY2012 Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development regular appropriations acts.

Duration

The duration of a CR refers to the period for which budget authority is provided for covered activities. The period ends either upon the enactment of the applicable regular appropriations act or on an expiration date specified in the CR, whichever occurs first. When a CR expires prior to the completion of all regular appropriations bills for a fiscal year, one or more additional CRs may be enacted to prevent funding gaps and secure additional increments of time to complete the remaining regular appropriations bills. The duration of any further CRs may be brief, sometimes a single day, to encourage the process to conclude swiftly, or it may be weeks or months to accommodate further negotiations or congressional recesses. In some cases, CRs have carried over into the next session of Congress.

In most of the fiscal years in which CRs have been used, a series of two or more have been enacted into law.16 Such CRs may be designated by their order (e.g., "first" CR, "second" CR) or, after the initial CR has been enacted, designated as a "further" CR. When action on the regular appropriations bills is not complete by the time when the first CR expires, subsequent CRs will often simply replace the expiration date in the preceding CR with a new expiration date. For example, Section 1 of the second CR for FY2004, P.L. 108-104 (117 Stat. 1200), stated that "Public Law 108-84 is amended by striking the date specified in Section 107(c) and inserting 'November 7, 2003.'" This action extended the duration of the preceding CR by seven days.

Funds provided by a CR will not necessarily be used by all covered activities through the date the CR expires. In practice, the budget authority provided by a CR may be superseded by the enactment of subsequent appropriations measures or the occurrence of other specified conditions. In an instance in which a regular appropriations bill was enacted prior to the expiration of a CR, the budget authority provided by the regular bill for covered activities would replace the funding provided by the CR. All other activities in the CR, however, would continue to be funded by the CR unless they were likewise superseded or the CR expired. The duration of funds for certain activities could also be shortened if other conditions that are specified in the CR occur. For example, Section 107 of P.L. 108-84, the first CR for FY2004, provided funds for 31 days or fewer:

Sec. 107. Unless otherwise provided for in this joint resolution or in the applicable appropriations Act, appropriations and funds made available and authority granted pursuant to this joint resolution shall be available until (a) enactment into law of an appropriation for any project or activity provided for in this joint resolution, or (b) the enactment into law of the applicable appropriations Act by both Houses without any provision for such project or activity, or (c) October 31, 2003, whichever first occurs. [emphasis added]

In this instance, funding for all other activities not subject to these conditions would continue under the CR until it expired or was otherwise superseded.

When a CR is attached to a regular appropriations bill, the activities covered by regular appropriations are funded through the remainder of the fiscal year, whereas the activities covered by the CR are funded through a specified date. Congress may also single out specific activities in a CR to receive funding for a specified duration that differs from the vast majority of other accounts and activities. This type of variation in duration is discussed in the "Exceptions to Duration, Amount, and Purposes: Anomalies" section.

As an alternative to the separate enactment of one or more of the regular appropriations bills for a fiscal year, a CR may provide funds for the activities covered in such bills through the remainder of the fiscal year. This type of CR is referred to as a full-year CR. Full-year CRs may provide funding for all bills that have yet to be enacted or include the full text of one or more regular appropriations bills. For example, Division A of P.L. 112-10 contained the text of the FY2011 Defense Appropriations Act, whereas the programs and activities covered by the 11 remaining regular appropriations bills were funded by the full-year CR in Division B.

Funding Rate

CRs usually fund activities under a formula-type approach that provides budget authority at a restricted level but not a specified amount. This method of providing budget authority is commonly referred to as the "funding rate." Under a funding rate, the amount of budget authority for an account17 is calculated as the total amount of budget authority annually available based on a reference level (usually a dollar amount or calculation), multiplied by the fraction of the fiscal year for which the funds are made available in the CR.18 This is in contrast to regular and supplemental appropriations acts, which generally provide specific amounts for each account.

In previous years, many CRs have provided funding across accounts by reference to the amount of budget authority available in specified appropriations acts from the previous fiscal year. For example, Section 101 of P.L. 110-329, the first CR for FY2010, provided the following funding rate:

Such amounts as may be necessary, at a rate for operations as provided in the applicable appropriations Acts for fiscal year 2008 and under the authority and conditions provided in such Acts, for continuing projects or activities (including the costs of direct loans and loan guarantees) that are not otherwise specifically provided for in this joint resolution, that were conducted in fiscal year 2008, and for which appropriations, funds, or other authority were made available in the following appropriations Acts: divisions A, B, C, D, F, G, H, J, and K of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 (P.L. 110-161). [emphasis added]

Other CRs have provided funding by reference to the levels available in the previous fiscal year, with either an increase or decrease from the previous fiscal year's level. For example, Section 101(a) and (b) of P.L. 112-33, the first CR for FY2012, provided the following funding rate:

(a) Such amounts as may be necessary, at a rate for operations as provided in the applicable appropriations Acts for fiscal year 2011 and under the authority and conditions provided in such Acts, for continuing projects or activities (including the costs of direct loans and loan guarantees) that are not otherwise specifically provided for in this Act, that were conducted in fiscal year 2011, and for which appropriations, funds, or other authority were made available in the following appropriations Acts….

(b) The rate for operations provided by subsection (a) is hereby reduced by 1.503 percent. [emphasis added]

Although these examples illustrate the most typical types of funding rates provided in recent years, other types of funding rates have sometimes been used when providing continuing appropriations. For example, P.L. 105-240, the first CR for FY1999, provided a variable funding rate for covered activities. Specifically, the CR provided funds derived from three possible reference sources: the House- and Senate-passed FY1999 regular appropriations bills, the amount of the President's budget request, or "current operations" (the total amount of budget authority available for obligation for an activity during the previous fiscal year), whichever was lower. In instances where no funding was provided under the House-and Senate-passed FY1999 appropriations bills, the funding rate would be based on the lower of the President's budget request or current operations. In addition, while the first CR for a fiscal year may provide a certain funding rate, subsequent CRs sometimes may provide a different rate.

CRs have sometimes provided budget authority for some or all covered activities by incorporating the actual text of one or more regular appropriations bills for that fiscal year rather than providing funding according to the rate formula.19 For example, P.L. 112-10 provided funding for the Department of Defense through the incorporation of a regular appropriations bill in Division A, whereas Division B provided formulaic funding for all other activities for the remainder of the fiscal year.20 In this type of instance, the formula in the CR applies only to activities not covered in the text of the incorporated regular appropriations bill or bills.

Purpose for Funds and Restrictions on New Activities

CRs that provide a funding rate for activities typically stipulate that funds may be used for the purposes and in the manner provided in specified appropriations acts for the previous fiscal year. CRs also typically provide that the funds provided may be used only for activities funded in the previous fiscal year. In practice, this is often characterized as a prohibition on "new starts." In addition, conditions and limitations on program activity from the previous year's appropriations acts are typically retained by language contained within the resolution's text. An example of such language, from P.L. 112-33, is below:

Sec. 103. Appropriations made by section 101 shall be available to the extent and in the manner that would be provided by the pertinent appropriations Act. [emphasis added]

Sec. 104. Except as otherwise provided in section 102, no appropriation or funds made available or authority granted pursuant to section 101 shall be used to initiate or resume any project or activity for which appropriations, funds, or other authority were not available during fiscal year 2011. [emphasis added]

This language prevents the initiation of new activities with the funds provided in the CR. Agencies may use appropriated funds from prior fiscal years that remain available, however, to initiate new activities in some circumstances.21

Exceptions to Duration, Amount, and Purposes: Anomalies

Even though CRs typically provide funds at a rate, they may also include provisions that enumerate exceptions to the duration, amount, or purposes for which those funds may be used for certain appropriations accounts or activities. Such provisions are commonly referred to as "anomalies." The purpose of anomalies is to preserve Congress's constitutional prerogative to provide appropriations in the manner it sees fit, even in instances when only short-term funding is provided.22

Duration

A CR may contain anomalies that designate a duration of funding for certain activities that is different from the overall duration provided. For example, Section 112 of P.L. 108-84 provided an exception to the expiration date of October 31, 2003, specified in Section 107(c) of the CR:

For entitlements and other mandatory payments whose budget authority was provided in appropriations Acts for fiscal year 2003, and for activities under the Food Stamp Act of 1977, activities shall be continued at the rate to maintain program levels under current law, under the authority and conditions provided in the applicable appropriations Act for fiscal year 2003, to be continued through the date specified in section 107(c): Provided, That notwithstanding section 107, funds shall be available and obligations for mandatory payments due on or about November 1 and December 1, 2003, may continue to be made. [emphasis added]

Amount

Anomalies may also designate a specific amount or rate of budget authority for certain accounts or activities that is different than the funding rate provided for the remainder of activities in the CR.23 Typically, such funding is specified as an annualized rate based upon a lump sum. For example, Section 120 of P.L. 112-33 provided the following anomaly for a specific account, which was an exception to the generally applicable rate in Section 101:

Notwithstanding section 101, amounts are provided for "Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board—Salaries and Expenses" at a rate for operations of $29,130,000. [emphasis added]

Funding adjustments can also be provided in anomalies for groups of accounts in the bill. For example, Section 121 of P.L. 112-33 provided a different rate for certain funds in a group of accounts:

Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, except section 106, the District of Columbia may expend local funds under the heading "District of Columbia Funds" for such programs and activities under title IV of H.R. 2434 (112th Congress), as reported by the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives, at the rate set forth under ''District of Columbia Funds—Summary of Expenses'' as included in the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Request Act of 2011 (D.C. Act 19–92), as modified as of the date of the enactment of this Act. [emphasis added]

Further, anomalies may provide exceptions to amounts specified in other laws. For example, Section 121 of P.L. 110-329 provided that funds may be expended in excess of statutory limits up to an alternative rate.

Notwithstanding the limitations on administrative expenses in subsections (c)(2) and (c)(3)(A) of section 3005 of the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-171; 120 Stat. 21), the Assistant Secretary (as such term is defined in section 3001(b) of such Act) may expend funds made available under sections 3006, 3008, and 3009 of such Act for additional administrative expenses of the digital-to-analog converter box program established by such section 3005 at a rate not to exceed $180,000,000 through the date specified in section 106(3) of this joint resolution. [emphasis added]

Purpose

CRs may also use anomalies to alter the purposes for which the funds may be expended. Such anomalies may allow funds to be spent for activities that would otherwise be prohibited or prohibit funds for activities that might otherwise be allowed. For example, Section 114 of P.L. 108-309, the first CR for FY2005, prohibited funds from being available to a particular department for a certain activity:

Notwithstanding any other provision of this joint resolution, except sections 107 and 108, amounts are made available for the Strategic National Stockpile ("SNS") at a rate for operations not exceeding the lower of the amount which would be made available under H.R. 5006, as passed by the House of Representatives on September 9, 2004, or S. 2810, as reported by the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate on September 15, 2004: Provided, That no funds shall be made available for the SNS to the Department of Homeland Security under this joint resolution…. [emphasis added]

Legislative Provisions

Substantive legislative provisions, which have the effect of creating new law or changing existing law, have also been included in some CRs. One reason why CRs have been attractive vehicles for such provisions is that they are often widely considered to be must-pass measures to prevent funding gaps. Legislative provisions previously included in CRs have varied considerably in length, from a short paragraph to more than 200 pages.

House and Senate rules restrict the inclusion of legislative provisions in appropriations bills, but such restrictions are applicable in different contexts. Although House rules prohibit legislative provisions from being included in general appropriations measures (including amendments or any conference report to such measures), these restrictions do not apply to CRs.24 Senate rules prohibit non-germane amendments that include legislative provisions either on the Senate floor or as an amendment between the houses.25 While these Senate restrictions do apply in the case of CRs, there is considerable leeway on when such provisions may be included, such as when the Senate amends a legislative provision included by the House.26 The rules of the House and Senate are not self-enforcing. A point of order must be raised and sustained to prevent any legislative language from being considered and enacted.27

Substantive provisions in CRs have included language that established major new policies, such as an FY1985 CR, which contained the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984.28

More frequently, CRs have been used to amend or renew provisions of law. For example, Section 140 of P.L. 112-33 retroactively renewed import restrictions under the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-61):

(a) Renewal of Import Restrictions Under Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003.—

(1) In general.—Congress approves the renewal of the import restrictions contained in section 3(a)(1) and section 3A (b)(1) and (c)(1) of the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003.

(2) Rule of construction.—This section shall be deemed to be a ``renewal resolution" for purposes of section 9 of the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003.

(b) Effective Date.—This section shall take effect on July 26, 2011.

CRs have also contained legislative provisions that temporarily extended expiring laws. For example, Section 118 of P.L. 111-242 provided a temporary extension of a section in the FY2006 National Defense Authorization Act:

The authority provided by section 1202 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 (P.L. 109-163), as most recently amended by section 1222 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (P.L. 111-84; 123 Stat. 2518), shall continue in effect through the date specified in section 106(3) of this Act.

Legislative provisions that temporarily extend expiring laws are effective through the date the CR expires, unless otherwise specified.

The Enactment of Regular Appropriations Bills and Use of CRs, FY1977-FY2016

As mentioned previously, regular appropriations were enacted after October 1 in all but four fiscal years between FY1977 and FY2016. Consequently, CRs have been needed in almost all of these years to prevent one or more funding gaps from occurring.29

Table 1 provides an overview of the enactment of regular appropriations bills and the use of CRs between FY1977 and FY2016. Excluding the four fiscal years that all appropriations were enacted on time (FY1977, FY1989, FY1995, and FY1997), over half of the regular appropriations bills for a fiscal year were enacted on time in only one instance (FY1978). In all other fiscal years, fewer than six regular appropriations acts were enacted on or before October 1. In addition, in 14 out of the 40 years during this period, no regular appropriations bills were enacted prior to the start of the fiscal year. Nine of these fiscal years have occurred in the interval since FY2001.

Table 1. The Enactment of Regular Appropriations Bills and Use of Continuing Resolutions (CRs), FY1977-FY2016

Fiscal
Year

Number of Regular Appropriations Billsa

Regular Appropriations Bills Enacted on or Before
October 1

CRs Enactedb

1977

13

13

(2)c

1978

13

9

3

1979

13

5

1

1980

13

3

2

1981

13

1

3

1982

13

1

4

1983

13

1

2

1984

13

4

2

1985

13

4

5

1986

13

0

5

1987

13

0

6

1988

13

0

5

1989

13

13

0

1990

13

1

3

1991

13

0

5

1992

13

3

4

1993

13

1

1

1994

13

2

3

1995

13

13

0

1996

13

0

13

1997

13

(13)d

0

1998

13

1

6

1999

13

1

6

2000

13

4

7

2001

13

2

21

2002

13

0

8

2003

13

0

8

2004

13

3

5

2005

13

1

3

2006

11

2

3

2007

11

1

4

2008

12

0

4

2009

12

(3)e

2

2010

12

1

2

2011

12

0

8

2012

12

0

5

2013

12

0

2

2014

12

0

4

2015

12

0

5

2016

12

0

3

Sources: U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Appropriations, Budget Estimates, Etc., 94th Congress, 2nd session-104th Congress, 1st session (Washington: GPO, 1976-1995). U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Calendars of the U.S. House of Representatives and History of Legislation, 104th Congress, 1st session-113th Congress, 1st session (Washington: GPO, 1995-2012). CRS appropriations status tables (FY1999-FY2016), http://www.crs.gov/pages/AppropriationsStatusTable.aspx.

a. Between the 95th and 108th Congresses, there were 13 House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees responsible for one regular appropriations bill each. During the 109th Congress, due to subcommittee realignment, the total number of regular appropriations bills was effectively reduced to 11 during each year of the Congress. Beginning in the 110th Congress, subcommittee jurisdictions were again realigned for a total of 12 subcommittees, each of which is currently responsible for a single regular appropriations bill. For further information on subcommittee realignment during this period, see: CRS Report RL31572, Appropriations Subcommittee Structure: History of Changes from 1920 to 2015, by [author name scrubbed] and [author name scrubbed].

b. For further information on each of these CRs, see Table 4.

c. Although all 13 FY1977 regular appropriations bills became law on or before the start of the fiscal year, two CRs were enacted. These CRs generally provided funding for certain activities that had not been included in the regular appropriations acts.

d. This number reflects six regular acts being combined to form an omnibus appropriations act and the other seven bills being enacted individually.

e. Three regular appropriations bills were packaged into a single act that also included the initial FY2010 CR (P.L. 110-329).

CRs were enacted in all but three of these fiscal years (FY1989, FY1995, and FY1997). In FY1977, although all 13 regular appropriations bills became law on or before the start of the fiscal year, two CRs were enacted to provide funding for certain activities that had not been included in the regular appropriations acts.

Duration and Frequency of Continuing Resolutions, FY1998-FY2016

In the interval since FY1997 (the most recent fiscal year that all regular appropriations bills were completed on time), CRs have been a significant element of the annual appropriations process. As shown in Table 2, a total of 106 CRs were enacted into law during this period. While the average number of such measures enacted per year was about six (5.6), the number enacted ranged from two measures (for FY2009, FY2010, and FY2013) to 21 (for FY2001).

During the past 18 fiscal years, Congress provided funding by means of a CR for an average of almost five months (137.5 days) each fiscal year. Taking into account the total duration of all CRs for each fiscal year, the period for which continuing appropriations were provided ranged from 21 days to 365 days. On average, each of the 106 CRs lasted for about 25 (24.6) days; 51 of these were for seven days or fewer.30 Three full-year CRs were used during this period, for FY2007, FY2011, and FY2013.

In the first four instances (FY1998-FY2001), the expiration date of the final CR was set in the first quarter of the fiscal year on a date occurring between October 21 and December 21. The expiration date in the final CR for the next three fiscal years (FY2002-FY2004), however, was set in the following session of Congress on a date occurring between January 10 and February 20. In six of the next 12 fiscal years (FY2005, FY2006, FY2008, FY2010, FY2012, and FY2016), the expiration dates were in the first quarter of the fiscal year on a date occurring between December 8 and December 31. For the remaining fiscal years, the final CRs were enacted during the next session of Congress. In one instance, the final CR for the fiscal year expired during the month of January (FY2014). In two instances, the final CR expired in March (FY2009 and FY2015). Three other final CRs—for FY2007, FY2011, and FY2013—provided funding through the end of the fiscal year.

Table 2. Number and Duration of Continuing Resolutions (CRs): FY1998-FY2016

Fiscal Year

Number of
CRs

Total
Duration
in Daysa

Average
Duration for
Each Act

Final
Expiration
Dateb

1998

6

57

9.5

11-26-1997

1999

6

21

3.5

10-21-1998

2000

7

63

9.0

12-02-1999

2001

21

82

3.9

12-21-2000

2002

8

102

12.8

01-10-2002

2003

8

143

17.9

02-20-2003

2004

5c

123

24.6

01-31-2004

2005

3

69

23.0

12-08-2004

2006

3

92

30.7

12-31-2005

2007

4

365

91.3

09-30-2007

2008

4

92

23.0

12-31-2007

2009

2

162

81.0

03-11-2009

2010

2

79

39.5

12-18-2009

2011

8

365

45.6

9-30-2011

2012

5

84

16.8

12-23-2011

2013

2

365

182.5

9-30-2013

2014

4d

110d

27.5

01-18-2014

2015

5

156

31.3

03-06-2015

2016

3

83

27.7

12-22-2015

Total

106

2,613

Annual Average

5.6

137.5

24.6

Sources: Prepared by the Congressional Research Service using data from the Legislative Information System; Congressional Research Service, appropriations status tables (various fiscal years), available at http://crs.gov/Pages/appover.aspx; and various other sources.

a. Duration in days is measured, in the case of the first CR for a fiscal year, from the first day of the year (October 1). For example, a CR enacted on September 30 that provided funding through October 12 would be measured as having a12-day duration. For subsequent CRs for a fiscal year, duration in days is measured from the day after the expiration of the preceding CR.

b. The final expiration date is the date the CR expired. In some of these instances, the CR had previously been superseded by the enactment of the remaining regular appropriations acts for that fiscal year. For example, in FY2014, the expiration date of P.L. 113-73, the fourth CR for FY2014, was January 18, 2014. However, final regular appropriations were enacted the previous day in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (P.L. 113-76).

c. The fifth CR for FY2004 did not change the expiration date of January 31, 2004, established in the preceding CR.

d. A total of four CRs were enacted for FY2014. This count includes two CRs that provided funding for only specific programs and activities during the FY2014 funding gap. The Pay Our Military Act (P.L. 113-39) was enacted on September 30, 2013. The Department of Defense Survivor Benefits Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014 (P.L. 113-44), was enacted on October 10, 2013. The funding provided by both of these CRs was terminated on October 17, 2013, through the enactment of at third CR, P.L. 113-46, which broadly funded the previous fiscal year's activities through January 15, 2014. The funding provided by this third CR was extended through January 18 through the enactment of a fourth CR (P.L. 113-73). Section 118 of P.L. 113-46 provided that the time covered by that act was to have begun on October 1, 2013. To preserve counting consistency, the FY2014 duration of days for the purposes of this table and Figure 1 begins on October 1 and ends on January 18, 2014. For further information on the FY2014 funding gap and congressional action on CRs, see CRS Report RS20348, Federal Funding Gaps: A Brief Overview, by [author name scrubbed].

Figure 1 presents a representation of the duration of CRs for FY1998-FY2016. As the figure shows, there is no significant correlation between these two variables. For example, six CRs were enacted for both FY1998 and FY1999, but the same number of measures lasted for a period of 57 days for FY1998 and only 21 days for FY1999. The largest number of CRs enacted for a single fiscal year during this period—21 for FY2001—covered a period lasting 82 days at an average duration of 3.9 days per act. The smallest number enacted—two each for FY2009, FY2010, and FY2013—covered 162 days, 79 days, and 365 days, respectively.

Figure 1 also shows considerable mix in the use of shorter-term and longer-term CRs for a single fiscal year. For example, for FY2001, 21 CRs covered the first 82 days of the fiscal year. The first 25 days were covered by a series of four CRs lasting between five and eight days each. The next 10 days, a period of intense legislative negotiations leading up to the national elections on November 7, 2000, were covered by a series of 10 one-day CRs. The next 31 days were covered by two CRs, the first lasting 10 days and the second lasting 21 days. The first of these two CRs was enacted into law on November 4, the Saturday before the election, and extended through November 14, the second day of a lame-duck session. The second CR was enacted into law on November 15 and expired on December 5, which was 10 days before the lame-duck session ended. The remaining five CRs, which ranged in duration from one to six days, covered the remainder of the lame-duck session and several days beyond (as the final appropriations measures passed by Congress were being processed for the President's approval).31

Table 4 provides more detailed information on the number, length, and duration of CRs enacted for FY1977-FY2016. As indicated previously, this represents the period after the start of the federal fiscal year was moved from July 1 to October 1 by the Congressional Budget Act.

Figure 1. Duration of Continuing Resolutions (CRs): FY1998-FY2016

Notes: Each segment of a bar for a fiscal year represents the duration in days of one CR. The left-most segment represents the first CR, effective beginning on October 1 (the start of the fiscal year). In the case of the initial CR for a fiscal year, duration in days is measured from the first day of the year through the expiration date. For subsequent CRs for a fiscal year, duration in days is measured from the day after the expiration of the preceding CR. Please see the notes to Table 2 in this report for a further explanation of the methodology for this figure.

Features of Full-Year CRs, FY1977-FY2016

Full-year CRs have been used to provide annual discretionary spending on a number of occasions. Prior to the full implementation of the Congressional Budget Act in FY1977, full-year CRs were used occasionally, particularly in the 1970s. Full-year CRs were enacted into law for four of the six preceding fiscal years (FY1971, FY1973, FY1975, and FY1976).32 Following the successful completion of all 13 regular appropriations acts prior to the start of FY1977, full-year CRs were used in each of the 11 succeeding fiscal years (FY1978-FY1988) to cover at least one regular appropriations act. Three years later, another full-year CR was enacted for FY1992. Most recently, full-year CRs were enacted for FY2007, FY2011, and FY2013.

Table 3 identifies the 15 full-year CRs enacted for the period since FY1977. Nine of the 15 full-year CRs during this period were enacted in the first quarter of the fiscal year—three in October, two in November, and four in December. The six remaining measures, however, were enacted during the following session between February 15 and June 5.

The full-year CRs enacted during this period also varied in terms of length and the form of funding provided. Full-year CRs prior to FY1983 were relatively short measures, ranging in length from one to four pages in the Statutes-at-Large. Beginning with FY1983 and extending through FY1988, however, the measures became much lengthier, ranging from 19 to 451 pages (averaging 244 pages). The greater page length of full-year CRs enacted for the period covering FY1983-FY1988 may be explained by two factors. First, full-year CRs enacted prior to FY1983 generally established funding levels by formulaic reference. Beginning with FY1983, however, Congress began to incorporate the full text of some or all of the covered regular appropriations acts, thereby increasing its length considerably. None of the full-year CRs enacted between 1985 and 1988 used formulaic funding provisions. Secondly, the number of regular appropriations acts covered by full-year CRs increased significantly during the FY1983-FY1988 period. For the period covering FY1978-FY1982, the number of regular appropriations acts covered by CRs for the full fiscal year ranged from one to six (averaging about three). Beginning with FY1983 and extending through FY1988, the number of covered acts ranged from five to 13, averaging 10.2.

The next two full-year CRs, for FY1992 and FY2007, returned to the earlier practice of using formulaic references and anomalies to establish funding levels. Both CRs provided funding only through this means. As a consequence, the length of these measures was considerably shorter than the FY1983 through FY1988 full-year CRs.

The two most recent full-year CRs, for FY2011 and FY2013, in some respects were a hybrid of the earlier and recent approaches. The FY2011 full-year CR provided funding for 11 bills through formulaic provisions and anomalies. It also carried the full text of one regular appropriations bill in a separate division of the act (the FY2011 Department of Defense Appropriations Act). Similarly, the FY2013 CR contained the texts of five regular appropriations bills in Divisions A through E of the act—the FY2013 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act; the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act; the Department of Defense Appropriations Act; the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act; and the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. In addition, Division F was characterized as providing continuing appropriations for the remaining seven regular appropriations bills through formulaic provisions and anomalies. Unlike previous years, the formula for providing continuing appropriations was based on the amount provided in FY2012 rather than a rate.

Table 3. Appropriations Acts Containing Full-Year Continuing Resolutions (CRs),
FY1977-FY2016

Fiscal
Year

Public Law
Number

Enactment
Date

Page Length
(Statutes-
at-Large)

Included
Formulaic Funding
Provision(s)?

Number of Appropriations Acts Covered or Contained in the Acta

1978

P.L. 95-205

12-09-1977

2

No

2/13b

1979

P.L. 95-482

10-18-1978

4

No

1/13

1980

P.L. 96-123

11-20-1979

4

Yes

6/13c

1981

P.L. 97-12

06-05-1981

2d

Yes

5/13d

1982

P.L. 97-161

03-31-1982

1

Yes

3/13e

1983

P.L. 97-377

12-21-1982

95

Yes

7/13

1984

P.L. 98-151

11-14-1983

19

Yes

5/13f

1985

P.L. 98-473

10-12-1984

363

No

9/13g

1986

P.L. 99-190

12-19-1985

142

No

8/13h

1987

P.L. 99-591

10-30-1986

391

No

13/13

1988

P.L. 100-202

12-22-1987

451

No

13/13

1992

P.L. 102-266

04-01-1992

8

Yes

1/13i

2007

P.L. 110-5

02-15-2007

53

Yes

9/11j

2011

P.L. 112-10

04-15-2011

98

Yes

12/12k

2013

P.L. 113-6

03-26-2013

240

Yes

12/12l

Sources: Prepared by the Congressional Research Service using data from the Legislative Information System; Congressional Research Service, appropriations status tables (various fiscal years), available at http://crs.gov/Pages/appover.aspx; and various other sources.

a. Between the 95th and 108th Congresses, there were 13 House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees responsible for one regular appropriations bill each. During the 109th Congress, due to subcommittee realignment, the total number of regular appropriations bills was effectively reduced to 11 during each year of the Congress. Beginning in the 110th Congress, subcommittee jurisdictions were again realigned for a total of 12 subcommittees, each of which is currently responsible for a single regular appropriations bill. For further information on subcommittee realignment during this period, see CRS Report RL31572, Appropriations Subcommittee Structure: History of Changes from 1920 to 2015, by [author name scrubbed] and [author name scrubbed].

b. This full-year continuing appropriations for the District of Columbia provided by this act were later superseded by a standalone regular appropriations act (P.L. 95-288).

c. Some of the appropriations acts covered by this full year CR were later superseded by standalone regular appropriations acts for Interior and Related Agencies (P.L. 96-126); Military Construction (96-130); Department of Defense (P.L. 96-154); and Transportation (P.L. 96-131).

d. This full-year CR was contained within the FY1981 Supplemental Appropriations and Rescissions Act 1981 (P.L. 97-12, see Title IV, "Further Continuing Appropriations"). Title IV extended through the end of the fiscal year the expiration of P.L. 96-536, which covered the appropriations acts that had not yet been enacted for Foreign Assistance; the Legislative Branch; Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies; Departments of State, Justice, and Commerce, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies; the Treasury, Postal Service and General Government.

e. This full-year CR extended through the end of the fiscal year the expiration date of P.L. 97-92, which covered the appropriations acts that had not yet been enacted for the Treasury, Postal Service and General Government; Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary; and Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.

f. Some of the appropriations acts covered by this full-year CR were later superseded by standalone regular appropriations acts for the Department of Defense (P.L. 98-121); Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies (P.L. 98-166); and the Treasury, Postal Service and General Government (P.L. 98-151).

g. The full-year continuing appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies that were provided by this act were later superseded by a standalone regular appropriations act (P.L. 98-619).

h. The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies provided by the CR were superseded by the enactment of P.L. 99-178.

i. This full-year CR extended through the end of FY1992 the expiration date of P.L. 102-163, which covered appropriations that had not yet been enacted for Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs.

j. Despite the reorganization of the House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees at the beginning of the 110th Congress, the FY2007 CR (P.L. 110-5), which was enacted on February 15, 2007, reflected the subcommittee jurisdictions in the 109th Congress.

k. P.L. 112-10, Division B, provided continuing appropriations through the end of the fiscal year for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies; Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies; Financial Services and General Government; Department of Homeland Security; Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies; Legislative Branch; Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies; Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies. Division A contained the text of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act.

l. P.L. 113-6, Division F, provided continuing appropriations for FY2013 for Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies; Financial Services and General Government; Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies; Legislative Branch; Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies. Divisions A through E contained the texts of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act; Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act; the Department of Defense Appropriations Act; Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act; and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

Table 4. Number, Page Length, and Duration of Continuing Resolutions (CRs):
FY1977-FY2016

Fiscal
Year

Number of Acts by Fiscal Year

Number of Acts Cumulatively

Public Law Number

Statutes-at-Large
Citation

Page Length

Enactment Date

Expiration Date

Duration
in Daysa

1977

1

1

P.L. 94-473

90 Stat. 2065-2067

3

10-11-1976

03-31-1977

183

 

2

2

P.L. 95-16

91 Stat. 28

1

04-01-1977

04-30-1977

30

1978

1

3

P.L. 95-130

91 Stat. 1153-1154

2

10-13-1977

10-31-1977

31

 

2

4

P.L. 95-165

91 Stat. 1323-1324

2

11-09-1977

11-30-1977

30

 

3

5

P.L. 95-205

91 Stat. 1460-1461

2

12-09-1977

09-30-1978

304

1979

1

6

P.L. 95-482

92 Stat. 1603-1605

3

10-18-1978

09-30-1979

365

1980

1

7

P.L. 96-86

93 Stat. 656-663

8

10-12-1979

11-20-1979

51

 

2

8

P.L. 96-123

93 Stat. 923-926

4

11-20-1979

09-30-1980

315

1981

1

9

P.L. 96-369

94 Stat. 1351-1359

9

10-01-1980

12-15-1980

76

 

2

10

P.L. 96-536

94 Stat. 3166-3172

7

12-16-1980

06-05-1981

172

 

3

11

P.L. 97-12b

95 Stat. 95-96

2

06-05-1981

09-30-1981

117

1982

1

12

P.L. 97-51

95 Stat. 958-968

11

10-01-1981

11-20-1981

51

 

2

13

P.L. 97-85

95 Stat. 1098

1

11-23-1981

12-15-1981

22

 

3

14

P.L. 97-92

95 Stat. 1183-1203

21

12-15-1981

03-31-1982

106

 

4

15

P.L. 97-161

96 Stat. 22

1

03-31-1982

09-30-1982

183

1983

1

16

P.L. 97-276

96 Stat. 1186-1205

20

10-02-1982

12-17-1982

78

 

2

17

P.L. 97-377

96 Stat. 1830-1924

95c

12-17-1982

09-30-1983

287

1984

1

18

P.L. 98-107

97 Stat. 733-743

11

10-01-1983

11-10-1983

41

 

2

19

P.L. 98-151

97 Stat. 964-982

19

11-14-1983

09-30-1984

321

1985

1

20

P.L. 98-441

98 Stat. 1699-1701

3

10-03-1984

10-03-1984

3

 

2

21

P.L. 98-453

98 Stat. 1731

1

10-05-1984

10-05-1984

2

 

3

22

P.L. 98-455

98 Stat. 1747

1

10-06-1984

10-09-1984

4

 

4

23

P.L. 98-461

98 Stat. 1814

1

10-10-1984

10-11-1984

2

 

5

24

P.L. 98-473

98 Stat. 1837-1976

140d

10-12-1984

09-30-1985

354

1986

1

25

P.L. 99-103

99 Stat. 471-473

3

09-30-1985

11-14-1985

45

 

2

26

P.L. 99-154

99 Stat. 813

1

11-14-1985

12-12-1985

28

 

3

27

P.L. 99-179

99 Stat. 1135

1

12-13-1985

12-16-1985

4

 

4

28

P.L. 99-184

99 Stat. 1176

1

12-17-1985

12-19-1985

3

 

5

29

P.L. 99-190

99 Stat. 1185-1326

142e

12-19-1985

09-30-1986

285

1987

1

30

P.L. 99-434

100 Stat. 1076-1079

4

10-01-1986

10-08-1986

8

 

2

31

P.L. 99-464

100 Stat. 1185-1188

4

10-09-1986

10-10-1986

2

 

3

32

P.L. 99-465

100 Stat. 1189

1

10-11-1986

10-15-1986

5

 

4

33

P.L. 99-491

100 Stat. 1239

1

10-16-1986

10-16-1986

1

 

5

34

P.L. 99-500f

100 Stat. 1783 through 1783-385

386

10-18-1986

09-30-1987

349

 

6

35

P.L. 99-591f

100 Stat. 3341 through 3341-389

390

10-30-1986

[n/a]f

1988

1

36

P.L. 100-120

101 Stat. 789-791

3

09-30-1987

11-10-1987

41

 

2

37

P.L. 100-162

101 Stat. 903

1

11-10-1987

12-16-1987

36

 

3

38

P.L. 100-193

101 Stat. 1310

1

12-16-1987

12-18-1987

2

 

4

39

P.L. 100-197

101 Stat. 1314

1

12-20-1987

12-21-1987

3

 

5

40

P.L. 100-202

101 Stat. 1329 through 1329-450

451g

12-22-1987

09-30-1988

284

1989

[none]

1990

1

41

P.L. 101-100

103 Stat. 638-640

3

09-29-1989

10-25-1989

25

 

2

42

P.L. 101-130

103 Stat. 775-776

2

10-26-1989

11-15-1989

21

 

3

43

P.L. 101-154

103 Stat. 934

1

11-15-1989

11-20-1989

5

1991

1

44

P.L. 101-403

104 Stat. 867-870

4h

10-01-1990

10-05-1990

5

 

2

45

P.L. 101-412

104 Stat. 894-897

4

10-09-1990

10-19-1990

14

 

3

46

P.L. 101-444

104 Stat. 1030-1033

4

10-19-1990

10-24-1990

5

 

4

47

P.L. 101-461

104 Stat. 1075-1078

4

10-25-1990

10-27-1990

3

 

5

48

P.L. 101-467

104 Stat. 1086-1087

2

10-28-1990

11-05-1990

9

1992

1

49

P.L. 102-109

105 Stat. 551-554

4

09-30-1991

10-29-1990

29

 

2

50

P.L. 102-145

105 Stat. 968-871

4

10-28-1991

11-14-1990

16i

 

3

51

P.L. 102-163

105 Stat. 1048

1

11-15-1991

11-26-1990

12

 

4

52

P.L. 102-266

106 Stat. 92-99

8

04-01-1992

09-30-1992

183

1993

1

53

P.L. 102-376

106 Stat. 1311-1314

4

10-01-1992

10-05-1992

5

1994

1

54

P.L. 103-88

107 Stat. 977-980

4

09-30-1993

10-21-1993

21

 

2

55

P.L. 103-113

107 Stat. 1114

1

10-21-1993

10-28-1993

7

 

3

56

P.L. 103-128

107 Stat. 1355

1

10-29-1993

11-10-1993

13

1995

[none]

1996

1

57

P.L. 104-31

109 Stat. 278-282

5

09-30-1995

11-13-1995

44

 

2

58

P.L. 104-54

109 Stat. 540-545

6

11-19-1995

11-20-1995

7

 

3

59

P.L. 104-56

109 Stat. 548-553

6

11-20-1995

12-15-1995

25

 

4

60

P.L. 104-69

109 Stat. 767-772

6

12-22-1995

01-03-1996

19

 

5

61

P.L. 104-90

110 Stat. 3-6

4

01-04-1996

01-25-1996

22

 

6

62

P.L. 104-91

110 Stat. 10-14

5

01-06-1996

09-30-1996

290j

 

7

63

P.L. 104-92

110 Stat. 16-24

9

01-06-1996

09-30-1996

290

 

8

64

P.L. 104-94

110 Stat. 25

1

01-06-1996

01-26-1996

42

 

9

65

P.L. 104-99

110 Stat. 26-47

22

01-26-1996

03-15-1996

49j

 

10

66

P.L. 104-116

110 Stat. 826

1

03-15-1996

03-22-1996

7

 

11

67

P.L. 104-118

110 Stat. 829

1

03-22-1996

03-29-1996

7

 

12

68

P.L. 104-122

110 Stat. 876-878

3

03-29-1996

04-24-1996

26j

 

13

69

P.L. 104-131

110 Stat. 1213

1

04-24-1996

04-25-1996

1

1997

[none]

1998

1

70

P.L. 105-46

111 Stat. 1153-1158

6

09-30-1997

10-23-1997

23

 

2

71

P.L. 105-64

111 Stat. 1343

1

10-23-1997

11-07-1997

15

 

3

72

P.L. 105-68

111 Stat. 1453

1

11-07-1997

11-09-1997

2

 

4

73

P.L. 105-69

111 Stat. 1454

1

11-09-1997

11-10-1997

1

 

5

74

P.L. 105-71

111 Stat. 1456

1

11-10-1997

11-14-1997

4

 

6

75

P.L. 105-84

111 Stat. 1628

1

11-14-1997

11-26-1997

12

1999

1

76

P.L. 105-240

112 Stat. 1566-1571

6

09-25-1998

10-09-1998

9

 

2

77

P.L. 105-249

112 Stat. 1868

1

10-09-1998

10-12-1998

3

 

3

78

P.L. 105-254

112 Stat. 1888

1

10-12-1998

10-14-1998

2

 

4

79

P.L. 105-257

112 Stat. 1901

1

10-14-1998

10-16-1998

2

 

5

80

P.L. 105-260

112 Stat. 1919

1

10-16-1998

10-20-1998

4

 

6

81

P.L. 105-273

112 Stat. 2418

1

10-20-1998

10-21-1998

1

2000

1

82

P.L. 106-62

113 Stat. 505-509

5

09-30-1999

10-21-1999

21

 

2

83

P.L. 106-75

113 Stat. 1125

1

10-21-1999

10-29-1999

8

 

3

84

P.L. 106-85

113 Stat. 1297

1

10-29-1999

11-05-1999

7

 

4

85

P.L. 106-88

113 Stat. 1304

1

11-05-1999

11-10-1999

5

 

5

86

P.L. 106-94

113 Stat. 1311

1

11-10-1999

11-17-1999

7

 

6

87

P.L. 106-105

113 Stat. 1484

1

11-18-1999

11-18-1999

1

 

7

88

P.L. 106-106

113 Stat. 1485

1

11-19-1999

12-02-1999

14

2001

1

89

P.L. 106-275

114 Stat. 808-811

4

09-29-2000

10-06-2000

6

 

2

90

P.L. 106-282

114 Stat. 866

1

10-06-2000

10-14-2000

8

 

3

91

P.L. 106-306

114 Stat. 1073

1

10-13-2000

10-20-2000

6

 

4

92

P.L. 106-344

114 Stat. 1318

1

10-20-2000

10-25-2000

5

 

5

93

P.L. 106-358

114 Stat. 1397

1

10-26-2000

10-26-2000

1

 

6

94

P.L. 106-359

114 Stat. 1398

1

10-26-2000

10-27-2000

1

 

7

95

P.L. 106-381

114 Stat. 1450

1

10-27-2000

10-28-2000

1

 

8

96

P.L. 106-388

114 Stat. 1550

1

10-28-2000

10-29-2000

1

 

9

97

P.L. 106-389

114 Stat. 1551

1

10-29-2000

10-30-2000

1

 

10

98

P.L. 106-401

114 Stat. 1676

1

10-30-2000

10-31-2000

1

 

11

99

P.L. 106-403

114 Stat. 1741

1

11-01-2000

11-01-2000

1

 

12

100

P.L. 106-416

114 Stat. 1811

1

11-01-2000

11-02-2000

1

 

13

101

P.L. 106-426

114 Stat. 1897

1

11-03-2000

11-03-2000

1

 

14

102

P.L. 106-427

114 Stat. 1898

1

11-04-2000

11-04-2000

1

 

15

103

P.L. 106-428

114 Stat. 1899

1

11-04-2000

11-14-2000

10

 

16

104

P.L. 106-520

114 Stat. 2436-2437

2

11-15-2000

12-05-2000

21

 

17

105

P.L. 106-537

114 Stat. 2562

1

12-05-2000

12-07-2000

2

 

18

106

P.L. 106-539

114 Stat. 2570

1

12-07-2000

12-08-2000

1

 

19

107

P.L. 106-540

114 Stat. 2571

1

12-08-2000

12-11-2000

3

 

20

108

P.L. 106-542

114 Stat. 2713

1

12-11-2000

12-15-2000

4

 

21

109

P.L. 106-543

114 Stat. 2714

1

12-15-2000

12-21-2000

6

2002

1

110

P.L. 107-44

115 Stat. 253-257

5

09-28-2001

10-16-2001

16

 

2

111

P.L. 107-48

115 Stat. 261

1

10-12-2001

10-23-2001

7

 

3

112

P.L. 107-53

115 Stat. 269

1

10-22-2001

10-31-2001

8

 

4

113

P.L. 107-58

115 Stat. 406

1

10-31-2001

11-16-2001

16

 

5

114

P.L. 107-70

115 Stat. 596

1

11-17-2001

12-07-2001

21

 

6

115

P.L. 107-79

115 Stat. 809

1

12-07-2001

12-15-2001

8

 

7

116

P.L. 107-83

115 Stat. 822

1

12-15-2001

12-21-2001

6

 

8

117

P.L. 107-97

115 Stat. 960

1

12-21-2001

01-10-2002

20

2003

1

118

P.L. 107-229

116 Stat. 1465-1468

4

09-30-2002

10-04-2002

4

 

2

119

P.L. 107-235

116 Stat. 1482

1

10-04-2002

10-11-2002

7

 

3

120

P.L. 107-240

116 Stat. 1492-1495

4

10-11-2002

10-18-2002

7

 

4

121

P.L. 107-244

116 Stat. 1503

1

10-18-2002

11-22-2002

35

 

5

122

P.L. 107-294

116 Stat. 2062-2063

2

11-23-2002

01-11-2003

50

 

6

123

P.L. 108-2

117 Stat. 5-6

2

01-10-2003

01-31-2003

20

 

7

124

P.L. 108-4

117 Stat. 8

1

01-31-2003

02-07-2003

7

 

8

125

P.L. 108-5

117 Stat. 9

1

02-07-2003

02-20-2003

13

2004

1

126

P.L. 108-84

117 Stat. 1042-1047

6

09-30-2003

10-31-2003

31

 

2

127

P.L. 108-104

117 Stat. 1200

1

10-31-2003

11-07-2003

7

 

3

128

P.L. 108-107

117 Stat. 1240

1

11-07-2003

11-21-2003

14

 

4

129

P.L. 108-135

117 Stat. 1391

1

11-22-2003

01-31-2004

71

 

5

130

P.L. 108-185

117 Stat. 2684

1

12-16-2003

[n/a]k

2005

1

131

P.L. 108-309

118 Stat. 1137-1143

7

09-30-2004

11-20-2004

51

 

2

132

P.L. 108-416

118 Stat. 2338

1

11-21-2004

12-03-2004

13

 

3

133

P.L. 108-434

118 Stat. 2614

1

12-03-2004

12-08-2004

5

2006

1

134

P.L. 109-77

119 Stat. 2037-2042

6

09-30-2005

11-18-2005

49

 

2

135

P.L. 109-105

119 Stat. 2287

1

11-19-2005

12-17-2005

29

 

3

136

P.L. 109-128

119 Stat. 2549

1

12-18-2005

12-31-2005

14

2007

1

137

P.L. 109-289k

120 Stat. 1311-1316

6

09-29-2006

11-17-2006

48

 

2

138

P.L. 109-369

120 Stat. 2642

1

11-17-2006

12-08-2006

21

 

3

139

P.L. 109-383

120 Stat. 2678

1

12-09-2006

02-15-2007

69

 

4

140

P.L. 110-5

121 Stat. 8-60

53

02-15-2007

09-30-2007

227

2008

1

141

P.L. 110-92

121 Stat. 989-998

10

09-29-2007

11-16-2007

47

 

2

142

P.L. 110-116l

121 Stat. 1341-1344

4

11-13-2007

12-14-2007

28

 

3

143

P.L. 110-137

121 Stat. 1454

1

12-14-2007

12-21-2007

7

 

4

144

P.L. 110-149

121 Stat. 1819

1

12-21-2007

12-31-2007

10

2009

1

145

P.L. 110-329

122 Stat. 3574-3716

143

09-30-2008

03-06-2009

157

 

2

146

P.L. 111-6

123 Stat. 522

1

03-06-2009

03-11-2009

5

2010

1

147

P.L. 111-68m

123 Stat. 2043-2053

11

10-01-2009

10-31-2009

31

 

2

148

P.L. 111-88n

123 Stat. 2972-2974

3

10-30-2009

12-18-2009

48

2011

1

149

P.L. 111-242

124 Stat. 2607-2616

10

09-30-210

12-03-2010

64

 

2

150

P.L. 111-290

124 Stat. 3063

1

12-04-2010

12-18-2010

15

 

3

151

P.L. 111-317

124 Stat. 3454

1

12-18-2010

12-21-2010

3

 

4

152

P.L. 111-322o

124 Stat. 3518-3521

4

12-22-2010

03-04-2011

73

 

5

153

P.L. 112-4

125 Stat. 6-13

8

03-02-2011

03-18-2011

14

 

6

154

P.L. 112-6

125 Stat. 23-30

8

03-18-2011

04-08-2011

21

 

7

155

P.L. 112-8

125 Stat. 34-35

2

04-09-2011

04-15-2011

7

 

8

156

P.L. 112-10p

125 Stat. 102-199

98

04-15-2011

09-30-2011

168

2012

1

157

P.L. 112-33

125 Stat. 363-368

6

09-30-2011

10-04-2011

4

 

2

158

P.L. 112-36

125 Stat. 386-391

6

10-05-2011

11-18-2011

45

 

3

159

P.L. 112-55q

125 Stat. 710

1

11-18-2011

12-16-2011

28

 

4

160

P.L. 112-67

125 Stat. 769

1

12-16-2011

12-17-2011

1

 

5

161

P.L. 112-68

125 Stat. 770

1

12-17-2011

12-23-2011

6

2013

1

162

P.L. 112-175

126 Stat. 1313

12

09-28-2012

03-27-2013

178

 

2

163

P.L. 113-6

127 Stat. 198-437

240

03-26-2013

09-30-2013

(365)s

2014

1

164

P.L. 113-39

127 Stat. 532-533

2

09-30-2013

[n/a]t

(17)t

 

2

165

P.L. 113-44

127 Stat. 555-556

2

10-10-2013

12-15-2013t

(8)t

 

3

166

P.L. 113-46

127 Stat. 558-571

14

10-17-2013

01-15-2013

(107)t

 

4

167

P.L. 113-73

128 Stat. 3

1

01-15-2013

01-18-2013

3

2015

1

168

P.L. 113-164

128 Stat. 1867

11

09-19-2014

12-11-2014

72

 

2

169

P.L. 113-202

128 Stat. 2069

1

12-12-2014

12-13-2014

1

 

3

170

P.L. 113-203

128 Stat. 2070

1

12-13-2014

12-17-2014

4

 

4

171

P.L. 113-235

128 Stat. 2767

1

12-16-2014

2-27-2015

72

 

5

172

P.L. 114-3

129 Stat. 38

1

02-27-2015

03-06-2015

7

2016

1

173

P.L. 114-53

129 Stat. 502-512

11

09-30-2015

12-11-2015

72

 

2

174

P.L. 114-96

129 Stat. 2193

1

12-11-2015

12-16-2015

5

 

3

175

P.L. 114-100

129 Stat. 2202

1

12-16-2015

12-22-2015

6

Sources: Prepared by the Congressional Research Service using data from the Legislative Information System; Congressional Research Service, appropriations status tables (various fiscal years), available at http://crs.gov/Pages/appover.aspx; and various other sources.

a. Duration in days is measured, in the case of the initial CR for a fiscal year, from the first day of the year (October 1) through the expiration date. For subsequent CRs for a fiscal year, duration in days is measured from the day after the expiration of the preceding CR. In several instances, as appropriate, the number of days reflects an extra day in a leap year (every fourth year beginning with calendar year 1976). Several CRs provided continuing appropriations for mixed periods of time. For example, three CRs—P.L. 96-86 (for FY1980), P.L. 97-51 (for FY1982), and P.L. 97-276 (for FY1983)—were enacted in November or December of the applicable year for periods covering 51 days, 51 days, and 78 days, respectively, but they also included continuing appropriations for the remainder of that fiscal year for activities covered by the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act. (See also the discussion of actions for FY1996 under footnote j.) In these instances, the "Duration in Days" column reflects the time period that applied to the greatest number of activities funded by the measure.

b. Title IV (95 Stat. 95-96) of P.L. 97-12, the Supplemental Appropriations and Rescission Act for FY1981, provided continuing appropriations for FY1981; the other titles of the act (95 Stat. 14-95) are excluded from the page count.

c. P.L. 97-377 incorporated the full text of various regular appropriations acts.

d. Title I (98 Stat. 1837-1976) of P.L. 98-473 provided continuing appropriations for FY1985; the other title, Title II (98 Stat. 1976-2199), set forth the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 and is excluded from the page count.

e. P.L. 99-190 incorporated the full text of various regular appropriations acts.

f. P.L. 99-591 superseded P.L. 99-500 and corrected enrollment errors in the earlier act; both laws originated as H.J.Res 738.

g. P.L. 100-202 incorporated the full text of various regular appropriations acts.

h. Title I (104 Stat. 867-870) of P.L. 101-403 provided continuing appropriations for FY1991; Titles II and III (104 Stat. 871-874) provided supplemental appropriations and are excluded from the page count.

i. Section 106(c) of P.L. 102-145 provided that, as an exception to the general expiration date, continuing appropriations for the Foreign Operation Appropriations Act would expire on March 31, 1992 (a duration of 154 days).

j. A total of 13 CRs were enacted for FY1996 (and one was vetoed). Two funding gaps occurred, the first in mid-November 1995 and the second from mid-December 1995 until early January 1996. The CRs for this year may be divided into two categories depending on whether their coverage was generally comprehensive or partial. Nine of the CRs enacted for FY1996 generally provided short-term funding for all activities under the regular appropriations acts that had not yet been enacted, while the other four provided funding only for selected activities within certain acts. The four acts in the latter category included the following:
(1) P.L. 104-69, which funded the Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC) and Foster Care and Adoption Assistance programs, programs of the District of Columbia, and certain veterans' programs;
(2) P.L. 104-90, which funded programs of the District of Columbia;
(3) P.L. 104-91, Title I, which funded a variety of programs, including ones pertaining to the Peace Corps, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, trade adjustment assistance benefits, and the National Institutes of Health, among others; and
(4) P.L. 104-92, which funded a variety of programs, including ones pertaining to nutrition services for the elderly, visitor services in the National Park System, certain veterans' programs, and programs of the District of Columbia, among others.
Activities under two of the regular appropriations acts for FY1996 were funded through the end of the fiscal year (September 30, 1996) in CRs: (1) Title IV of P.L. 104-92 provided such funding for activities covered by the District of Columbia Appropriations Act; and (2) Title III of P.L. 104-99 provided such funding for activities covered by the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act. In addition, other selected activities were funded through the remainder of the fiscal year in P.L. 104-91, P.L. 104-92, and P.L. 104-122. Action on the regular appropriations acts for FY1996 was concluded with the enactment of P.L. 104-134, the Omnibus Consolidated Rescissions and Appropriations Act of 1996, on April 26, 1996 (110 Stat. 1321 through 1321-381), which provided funding for the remainder of the fiscal year for activities covered by five of the regular appropriations acts.
Three of the CRs had mixed periods of duration. The duration shown in the table was determined as follows:
(1) Most of the funding provided in P.L. 104-92 was for the remainder of the fiscal year, so a duration of 290 days was used;
(2) While the funding provided in P.L. 104-99 for activities covered by the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act was for the remainder of the fiscal year, the funding provided for activities covered by four other regular appropriations acts was through March 15, 1996, so a duration of 49 days was used; and
(3) Most of the funding provided in P.L. 104-122 was through April 24, while only one account was funded through the remainder of the fiscal year, so a duration of 26 days was used.
In the case of P.L. 104-91, a measure requiring the Secretary of Commerce to convey to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the National Marine Fisheries Service laboratory located on Emerson Avenue in Gloucester, Massachusetts, Title I (110 Stat. 10-14) of the act provided continuing appropriations for selected activities for the remainder of FY1996; Section 1 (110 Stat. 7-10) and Title II (110 Stat. 14-15) pertained to other matters and are excluded from the page count. Section 110 of the act made the funding effective as of December 16, 1995.

k. P.L. 108-185 contained provisions affecting funding levels for two specified programs but did not contain a provision affecting the expiration date of January 31, 2004, established in the preceding CR (P.L. 108-135).

l. Continuing appropriations for FY2007 were provided by Division B (120 Stat. 1311-1316) of P.L. 109-289, the Defense Appropriations Act for FY2007; the other portions of the act (120 Stat. 1257-1311) are excluded from the page count.

m. Continuing appropriations for FY2008 were provided by Division B (121 Stat. 1341-1344) of P.L. 110-116, the Defense Appropriations Act for FY2008; the other portions of the act (121 Stat. 1295-1341) are excluded from the page count.

n. Continuing appropriations for FY2010 were provided by Division B (123 Stat. 2043-2053) of P.L. 111-68, the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act for FY2010; the other portions of the act (123 Stat. 2023-2043) are excluded from the page count.

o. Continuing appropriations for FY2010 were provided by Division B (123 Stat. 2972-2974) of P.L. 111-88, the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for 2010; the other portions of the act (123 Stat. 2904-2972) are excluded from the page count.

p. Continuing appropriations for FY2011 were provided by Division A (124 Stat. 3518-3521) of P.L. 111-322, the Continuing Appropriations and Surface Transportation Extensions Act for 2011; the other portions of the act (124 Stat. 3522-3531) are excluded from the page count.

q. Full-year continuing appropriations for FY2011 were provided by Division B (125 Stat. 102-199) of P.L. 112-10, the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act for 2011; the other portions of the act (125 Stat. 38-102, 199-212) are excluded from the page count.

r. Continuing appropriations for FY2012 were provided by Division D (125 Stat. 710) of P.L. 112-55, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act for 2012; the other portions of the act (125 Stat. 552-709) are excluded from the page count.

s. In P.L. 113-6, both the full text (Divisions A through E) and continuing (Division F) appropriations were for the entire fiscal year (FY2013) and superseded the continuing appropriations provided by P.L. 112-175

t. A total of four CRs were enacted for FY2014. This count includes two CRs that provided funding for only specific programs and activities during the FY2014 funding gap. The Pay Our Military Act (P.L. 113-39) was enacted on September 30, 2013, and provided funding for FY2014. The Department of Defense Survivor Benefits Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014 (P.L. 113-44), was enacted on October 10, 2013, and expired on December 15, 2013. However, the funding provided by both of these CRs was terminated on October 17, 2013, through the enactment of a third CR, P.L. 113-46, which broadly funded the previous fiscal year's activities through January 15, 2014. The funding provided by this third CR was extended through January 18 by the enactment of a fourth CR (P.L. 113-73). Section 118 of P.L. 113-46 provided that the time covered by that act was to have begun on October 1, 2013. For the purposes of this table, the duration in days for the first two CRs is considered to have ended on October 17, 2013. The third CR is considered to have begun on October 1, 2013, and expired on January 15, 2014. For further information on the FY2014 funding gap and congressional action on associated CRs, see CRS Report RS20348, Federal Funding Gaps: A Brief Overview, by [author name scrubbed].

Author Contact Information

[author name scrubbed], Specialist on Congress and the Legislative Process ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])
[author name scrubbed], Specialist on Congress and the Legislative Process ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])

Footnotes

1.

The congressional budget process distinguishes between discretionary spending, which is controlled through appropriations acts, and direct (or mandatory) spending, which is controlled through permanent law. For further information on the types of spending in the congressional budget process, see CRS Report 98-721, Introduction to the Federal Budget Process, coordinated by [author name scrubbed]. For further information on the appropriations process, see CRS Report R42388, The Congressional Appropriations Process: An Introduction, by [author name scrubbed].

2.

Several key terms in this report are italicized for emphasis. Under current practice, each House Appropriations subcommittee typically drafts one regular appropriations bill for the activities under its jurisdiction, for a total of 12 bills each fiscal year. Consolidated appropriations measures—sometimes referred to as "omnibus bills," where two or more of the regular bills are combined into one legislative vehicle—have also been used for consideration and enactment. For further information, see CRS Report RL32473, Omnibus Appropriations Acts: Overview of Recent Practices, by [author name scrubbed].

3.

Continuing appropriations acts are commonly referred to as "continuing resolutions" because they usually provide continuing appropriations in the form of a joint resolution rather than a bill. Continuing appropriations are also occasionally provided through a bill.

4.

§501 of P.L. 93-344 (88 Stat. 321); July 12, 1974. This section was later replaced by the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990, but the start of the fiscal year remains October 1 (see 31 U.S.C. 1102).

5.

FY1977 marked the first full implementation of the congressional budget process established by the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, which moved the beginning of the fiscal year to October 1.

6.

Appropriations bills provide agencies budget authority, which is authority provided by federal law to enter into contracts or other financial obligations that will result in immediate or future expenditures (or outlays) involving federal government funds. For explanations of these terms, see U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), A Glossary of Terms Used in the Federal Budget Process, GAO-05-734SP, September 2005, pp. 20-21, http://www.gao.gov/.

7.

These prohibitions are contained in the Antideficiency Act (31 U.S.C. §1341-1342, §1511-1519). Exceptions are made under the act, including for activities involving "the safety of human life or the protection of property" (31 U.S.C. 1342). The Antideficiency Act is discussed in CRS Report RL30795, General Management Laws: A Compendium, by [author name scrubbed] et al. In addition, the GAO provides information about the act online at http://www.gao.gov/ada/antideficiency.htm.

8.

For further information on shutdowns, see CRS Report RL34680, Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Processes, and Effects, coordinated by [author name scrubbed].

9.

Funding gaps and shutdowns should be distinguished, however, because a full shutdown may not occur in some instances, such as when a funding gap is of a short duration over a weekend. For a further discussion of this issue, as well as a list of all funding gaps that have occurred since FY1977, see CRS Report RS20348, Federal Funding Gaps: A Brief Overview, by [author name scrubbed].

10.

Although regular appropriations for FY1953 were enacted into law after the start of the fiscal year, no continuing appropriations were provided. §1414 of P.L. 82-547 (July 15, 1952), a supplemental appropriations measure for FY1953, resolved the legalities arising from the tardy enactment of appropriations for that year.

11.

Although regular appropriations for FY1977 were enacted into law before the start of the fiscal year, CRs were also enacted to fund certain unauthorized programs whose funding had not been included in the regular appropriations acts. §1414 of P.L. 82-547 (66 Stat. 661) made regular appropriations enacted later than the beginning of the fiscal year available retroactively as of July 1, 1952 (the first day of FY1953) and ratified any obligations incurred before their enactment.

12.

In some instances, such acts might alternatively be characterized by some observers as "omnibus appropriations acts." For a further discussion of this issue, see the section titled "Funding Rate" and CRS Report RL32473, Omnibus Appropriations Acts: Overview of Recent Practices, by [author name scrubbed].

13.

Appropriations bills provide agencies with budget authority, which is defined as authority provided by federal law to enter into contracts or other financial obligations that will result in immediate or future expenditures (or outlays) involving federal government funds. For explanations of these terms, see GAO, Glossary, pp. 20-21. For the purposes of this report, the terms "budget authority" and "funding" are used interchangeably.

14.

See, for example, §101 of P.L. 105-240.

15.

Two or more regular appropriations bills are sometimes packaged into a single or "omnibus" legislative vehicle prior to enactment. For a discussion of this practice, see CRS Report RL32473, Omnibus Appropriations Acts: Overview of Recent Practices, by [author name scrubbed].

16.

For further information, see Table 1 and Table 4 in this report.

17.

Regular appropriations bills contain a series of unnumbered paragraphs with headings, generally reflecting a unique budget "account." Elements within budget accounts are divided by "program, project or activity" based upon the table "Comparative Statement of New Budget Authority" in the back of the report accompanying the appropriations bill.

18.

For a discussion of how funding rates are calculated, see GAO, Office of the General Counsel, Principles of Federal Appropriations Law, vol. II, 3rd ed. (2004), at 8-10 to 8-14.

19.

From a functional perspective, CRs that do not include any formulaic provisions but instead provide appropriations only by using the full text of acts (including by cross-reference) are sometimes regarded as omnibus appropriations acts rather than CRs, even if they are entitled an act "making continuing appropriations" or "making further continuing appropriations."

20.

The formulaic funding for many of the accounts funded in Division B was modified by anomalies. For a discussion of this practice, see the "Anomalies" section of this report.

21.

Although appropriations bills most commonly provide budget authority that is available for obligation for only one fiscal year, budget authority for an activity may be provided for more than one year ("multiyear") or indefinitely ("no-year"). In instances where funds provided in previous years are still available for the purpose of initiating a new project or activity, such funds may generally be used for this purpose, even though funds for the current fiscal year are provided by a CR. GAO, Glossary, p. 22.

22.

Article 1, §9, of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the "power of the purse" by prohibiting expenditures "but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law."

23.

Regular appropriations bills contain a series of unnumbered paragraphs with headings, generally reflecting a unique budget "account." Elements within budget accounts are divided by "program, project or activity" (GAO, Glossary, p. 80). When a CR provides funds for activities in the prior year's regular appropriations acts, anomalies reflect the account structure in such acts.

24.

House Rule XXI, clause 2, prohibits such language in general appropriations measures and applicable amendments. House Rule XXII, clause 5, in effect, generally extends the House Rule XXI, clause 2, prohibition to conference reports. CRs, however, are not considered to be general appropriations bills. W[illia]m Holmes Brown, Charles W. Johnson, and John V. Sullivan, House Practice: A Guide to the Rules, Precedents and Procedures of the House, 112th Cong., 1st sess. (Washington: GPO, 2011), ch. 4, §6, pp. 76-77.

25.

Senate Rule XVI, paragraphs 2-6.

26.

For further information on House and Senate restrictions on legislation in appropriations, see CRS Report R41634, Limitations in Appropriations Measures: An Overview of Procedural Issues, by [author name scrubbed].

27.

For further information on points of order, see CRS Report 98-307, Points of Order, Rulings, and Appeals in the House of Representatives, by [author name scrubbed]; and CRS Report 98-306, Points of Order, Rulings, and Appeals in the Senate, by [author name scrubbed].

28.

P.L. 98-473, 98 Stat. 1837.

29.

For further information on the funding gaps that occurred during this period, see CRS Report RS20348, Federal Funding Gaps: A Brief Overview, by [author name scrubbed].

30.

The fifth CR enacted for FY2004, P.L. 108-185, did not change the expiration date of January 31, 2004, set in the preceding CR.

31.

For further information on the appropriations context for FY2001, see "Longest Appropriations Cycle in Five Years Ends with Omnibus Spending Bill," Congressional Quarterly Almanac, 106th Cong., 2nd sess. (2000), vol. LVI, pp. 2-3 through 2-6.

32.

The full-year CR for FY1976, P.L. 94-254, provided funding through the end of the fiscal year (June 30, 1976) as well as through the end of a "transition quarter" (September 30, 1976). The additional quarter of funding was necessary to facilitate the change in the start of the federal government fiscal year from July 1 to October 1.