New spending

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A conventional authorization establishes or continues a government agency or program, and while it may place a limit on the amount of budget authority that may be appropriated for that purpose (Deschler Ch 25 Sec. 2.13), the authorized funds are available only to the extent provided for in appropriation acts originated by the Appropriations Committee. Spending legislation which circumvents the appropriations process is called ``backdoor spending. Restrictions against such legislation are found in the Congressional Budget Act. With certain exceptions, new spending authority[1] is to be ``effective only as provided in appropriation acts. ``Spending authority is defined by the Act to include contract authority and borrowing authority.

The Act has been construed to prohibit the consideration of a measure containing new spending authority to incur indebtedness, if the budget authority therefor is not provided in advance by appropriation acts.

The ``spending authority referred to in Sec. 401(a) does not apply to bills that provide legislative authorizations that are subject to the appropriations process.

Whether or not an amendment to a pending measure provides new spending authority for a program is determined by its marginal effect on the pending measure rather than current law.

The House may adopt a resolution reported from the Committee on Rules waiving points of order against the consideration of a conference report containing an amendment providing new spending authority not subject to amounts provided in advance by appropriation acts in violation of Sec. 401(a) of the Budget Act.

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  1. A Guide to the Rules, Precedents and Procedures of the House, p. 189. U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov