Applicability of the Antideficiency Act Upon a Lapse in an Agency’s Appropriation

Headnotes: 

If, after the expiration of an agency’s appropriation, Congress has not enacted an appropriation for the immediately subsequent period, the agency may obligate no further funds except as necessary to bring about the orderly termination of its functions, and the obligation or expenditure of funds for any purpose not otherwise authorized by law would be a violation of the Antideficiency Act.

The manifest purpose of the Antideficiency Act is to insure that Congress will determine for what purpose the government’s money is to be spent and how much for each purpose.

Because no statute generally permits federal agencies to incur obligations without appropriations for the pay of employees, agencies are not, in general, authorized to employ the services of their employees upon a lapse in appropriations.

Updated July 9, 2014