A Primer on Disaster and Emergency Appropriations

Each year, Congress appropriates billions of dollars in discretionary funding for disaster relief and emergencies. Some of that funding is provided through base appropriations measures, but a much larger portion is provided through annual Budget Control Act (BCA) cap adjustments that increase discretionary spending by billions of dollars, or—for larger expenses—by supplemental appropriations bills that provide even greater amounts of funding that is not subject to spending caps or budgetary controls.

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