Supplemental Appropriations

Link to our explanation of Disaster Relief Supplementals

Current Status of Supplemental Appropriations:

  • February 9, 2018:  PL 115-123 Further Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2018 and Continuing Resolution (through March 23, 2018)


Types of Appropriations Bills:

12 Regular Appropriations Bills:  The House and Senate Appropriations Committees are both organized into 12 subcommittees, with each subcommittee having responsibility for developing one regular annual appropriations bill.  Click the red navigation bar above (or the chart on our  home page) for the status of this year’s 12 regular bills.

Continuing Resolutions (CR):  Due to escalating disagreements on fiscal policy, it is rare for Congress to complete action on all 12 appropriations bills by October 1; the last time was 1996.  Instead, Congress passes stop-gap measures, called continuing resolutions (“CRs”), to keep agencies operating at a particular level of funding (often the previous year’s funding level, with some adjustments) while they endeavor to complete appropriations action.  Sometimes, multiple CRs are enacted adopted before final agreement on appropriations for the fiscal year is reached.  CRs are enacted in the form of joint resolutions requiring presidential signature.  Occasionally, political gridlock prevents adoption of a CR and the federal government shuts down.  Lengthy government shutdowns occurred in 1995 and 2013.  (For more information, see:  http://fedweb.com/government-shutdown/).

Omnibus Appropriations Bills:  In recent years, the Appropriations Committees of the House and Senate typically begin regular consideration of each of the 12 appropriations bills, producing House and Senate committee reports and legislative language for most or all of the 12 bills, but eventually congressional leadership makes a decision to combine some or all of the bills into an “omnibus” — or combined — measure, usually in order to expedite passage and/or resolve outstanding differences through a comprehensive negotiation.

Minibus:  A combined appropriations bill that includes fewer than all 12 regular appropriations bills is sometimes called a “minibus.”

Cromnibus:  A bill that continues several of the 12 regular appropriations bills, and continues funding for other departments and agencies at current levels (i.e. a continuing resolution) is sometimes called a “cromnibus” because it combines features of a “CR” and a “minibus.”

Supplemental Appropriations:  In addition to the amounts provided in a regular appropriations measure, the President may request, and Congress may enact, additional funding in the form of one or more supplemental appropriations measures (“supplementals”).  Supplementals are used to provide funding where the need is too urgent to be postponed until enactment of the next regular appropriations bill — often in response to disasters or national security requirements.

Rescissions:  Following enactment of appropriations for a fiscal year, the President or Congress make seek to cancel appropriated funds.  Current status of rescission bills.

Supplemental Appropriations by Fiscal Year:


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