The basic legislation enacted by Congress that establishes or continues a federal agency, activity or program or that authorizes appropriations for an agency, activity or program.
The appropriations may be authorized for one year, several years or an indefinite period of time, and the authorization may be for a specific amount of money or an indefinite amount (“such sums as may be necessary”).
Authorizations of specific amounts are construed as ceilings on the amounts that subsequently may be appropriated in an appropriation bill, but not as minimums; either house may appropriate lesser amounts or nothing at all.
SOURCE: House Budget Committee
National Debt Glossary
Looks up the key terms for understanding America's financial crisis
Frequently Asked Questions: National Debt
- How did the national debt get to be so big?
- What's the difference between the debt and the deficit?
- Why can't the government just print more money to get out of debt?
- How much U.S. debt is owned by foreign countries?