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Deferral of Budget Authority (BA)

ABUS 024

DAU GLOSSARY DEFINITION

Any action or inaction by any officer or employee of the United States that withholds, delays, or effectively precludes the obligation or expenditure of budgetary resources, including the establishment of reserves under the Antideficiency Act (ADA). BA may be deferred to provide for contingencies, to achieve savings or greater efficiency in the operations of government, or as otherwise specified by law. BA may not be deferred in order to affect a policy in lieu of one established by law or for any other reason. Deferrals must be communicated to Congress by the President in a special message. Deferrals may not extend beyond the end of the fiscal year in which the message reporting the deferral is transmitted and may be overturned by the passage of an impoundment resolution by either House of Congress.

Alternate Definition
Any executive branch action or inaction that temporarily withholds, delays, or effectively precludes the obligation or expenditure of budgetary authority (BA) with the intent of using the funds before they expire. BA may be deferred to provide for contingencies, to achieve savings or greater efficiency in operations of government, or as otherwise specified by law. BA may not be deferred in order to effect a policy in lieu of one established by law or for any other reason. Deferrals must be communicated to the Congress by the President in a special message.
Alternate Definition Source

Executive Office of the Presidents, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular No. A-11 Preparation, Submission, and Execution of the Budget (August 2023)

General Information

A deferral is a temporary impoundment or holding of funds (e.g., due to technical problems or schedule slip). In a deferral action, the President (actually done by OMB on his behalf) sends a special message (usually a memorandum) to Congress stating his intent to defer for a specific period of time (up to the end of the first year of availability) a specific amount of funds appropriated for a specific purpose based on a specific reason for the proposed delay in the release of those funds. If either the House or Senate passes a resolution disapproving the President’s proposed deferral action, those funds must be released and made available for obligation. If there is no Congressional action within 45 days of continuous session of Congress, the deferral stands. If continued deferral of those same funds in the following year is desired (i.e., in the case of a multi-year appropriation), the President must initiate the same process to defer funds for that year.