Phoenix TS

Federal Appropriations Law Training

This Training teaches students the fundamentals of appropriation law, how to determine the legal availability of appropriations, the legal obligation of funds, how to ensure the correct fund sources are charged for obligations and the correct course of action when funds must be transferred or reprogrammed.

Course Overview

This 3-day, instructor-led course is designed for program managers, accountants, budget analysts, auditors, purchase card holders, approving managers, contracting officers, certifying officers and attorneys that work for the federal government. Topics include:

  • Basics of appropriations law
  • Determining the legal availability of appropriations
  • Legal obligation of funds
  • Ensuring correct fund sources are charged for obligations and the correct course of action when funds need to be transferred or reprogrammed.
  • Avoiding a negative audit or congressional report, violations of the Antideficiency Act (ADA) and spending personal money to correct errors


Currently, there are no public classes scheduled. Please contact a Phoenix TS Training Consultant to discuss hosting a private class at 240-667-7757.


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Course Outline


  • Nature of Appropriations Law
  • Congressional “Power of the Purse”
  • “Life Cycle” of an Appropriation
  • The Government Accountability Office (GAO): legal decisions
  • Cases

The Legal Framework

  • Appropriations and related terminology
  • Some basic concepts
  • Relationship of appropriations to other types of legislation
  • Determining Congressional intent
  • Cases

Agency Regulations and Administrative Discretion

  • Agency regulations 
  • Agency administrative interpretations
  • Administrative discretion
  • Cases

Availability of Appropriations: Purpose

  • DoD’s three types of acquisitions  
  • General principles
  • The “Necessary Expense” doctrine
  • Specific purpose authorities and limitations
  • Cases

Availability of Appropriations: Time

  • Period of availability
  • Three phases in the life cycle of appropriations
  • General principles — duration of appropriations
  • The “bona fide needs” rule
  • Advance payments
  • Disposition of appropriation balance
  • Effect of litigation (and bid protests) on period of availability

Availability of Appropriations — Amount

  • Types of appropriation language
  • The Antideficiency Act
  • Supplemental and deficiency appropriations
  • Augmentation of appropriations
  • Cases

Obligation of Appropriations

  • Criteria for recording obligations
  • Continent liabilities
  • Reporting requirements
  • Deobligation
  • Cases

Continuing Resolutions

  • Rate for operations
  • Projects or activities
  • Cases

Liability and Relief of Accountable Officers

  • General principles
  • Physical loss or deficiency
  • Illegal or improper payments
  • Statutory provisions and who can grant relief for improper payments
  • Statute of limitations
  • Procedures
  • Collection action
  • Restitution, reimbursement, and restoration
  • Cases


Who should take this training?

This course is intended for Program Managers, Accountants, Budget Analysts, Auditors, Purchase Card Holders, Approving Managers, Contracting Officers, Certifying Officers, and Attorneys working in the federal government.

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Starting at $1250.00

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  • Included in this Federal Appropriations Law Training

    • 3 days instructor-led training
    • Federal Appropriations Law Training training book
    • Notepad, pen and highlighter
    • Variety of bagels, fruits, doughnuts and cereal available at the start of class*
    • Tea, coffee and soda available throughout the day*
    • Freshly baked cookies every afternoon*
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