Defense supplementals and the budget process
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Supplemental appropriations provide emergency adjustments to the current year, usually for national defense contingencies and natural disaster emergencies. Recently, they have adopted some of the complexities of the regular appropriation process. For example, both the president and Congress may suggest when a supplemental is a dire emergency and thus beyond spending discipline and when it must be offset. Some supplementals have paid for nonemergency activities, others have resulted in funding decreases, and still others have resulted in spending in future years. Compared to the normal appropriation process, supplementals are usually passed expeditiously. Defense supplementals are generally precisely priced, whereas disaster supplementals tend to be lump sum estimates.
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