“Emergency” Spending / Emergency (CongressionalGlossary.com)

From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms

“Emergency” Spending / Emergency

Rushing to the Scene
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Spending with the “emergency” designation does not count against budget caps. While often used for one-time, unforeseen events, this designation has also been used to circumvent budget limits. For example, spending for the census has been designated as “emergency” spending.


Emergency: A term that usually modifies “appropriation,” “legislation,” or “supplemental.” Under procedures typically prescribed in concurrent resolutions on the budget, the House or the Senate, or their respective committees of jurisdiction, may designate proposed appropriations or other legislation as “emergency legislation” and thereby exempt any new budget authority, outlays, or receipts resulting from such legislation from specified enforcement provisions in the Congressional Budget Act, the concurrent resolution itself, or both.


Acts appropriating funds for national or international emergencies such as natural disasters or urgent national security events are typically designated “emergency supplemental.”

See also Appropriations; Budget Authority; Date Shifting / Fiscal Transparency; Supplemental Appropriation.

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