This section discusses basic appropriations law terms that appear throughout this publication. Some of our discussion draws upon statutory definitions that apply in various budgetary contexts. We draw other definitions from administrative and judicial decisions, as well as from custom and usage in the budget and appropriations process.
The Comptroller General, in cooperation with the Treasury Department, Office of Management and Budget, and Congressional Budget Office, must maintain and publish standard terms and classifications for "fiscal, budget, and program information," giving particular consideration to the needs of the congressional budget, appropriations, and revenue committees. 31 U.S.C. § 1112(c). Federal agencies must use this standard terminology when they provide information to Congress. 31 U.S.C. § 1112(d).
GAO publishes the terminology developed pursuant to this authority in A Glossary of Terms Used in the Federal Budget Process, GAO-05-734SP (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 2005) [hereinafter Glossary]. Unless otherwise noted, the terminology used throughout this publication is based on the Glossary. The following sections present some of the more important terminology in the budget and appropriations process. Many other terms will be defined in the chapters that deal specifically with them.
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