Appropriations Law Training

Overview

GAO’s Principles of Appropriations Law (PAL) course acquaints participants with the purposes and principles of federal fiscal law.  It blends lecture, case studies, and student participation in a way that engages and challenges participants, while maximizing the exchange of both practical and theoretical information. 

GAO's Course

Principles of Appropriations Law (PAL) is taught by experienced GAO attorneys.  GAO will offer both virtual and in-person courses for FY 2023. 

Virtual Courses: Beginning January 2023, GAO is offering several courses through virtual training (see Registration for Group Courses).  The virtual course is 5 ½ hours, including breaks.  It begins at 9:30 AM EST and ends at approximately 3:00 PM.  The course generally qualifies for 6 continuing professional education (CPE) credits.  See below for a complete course outline.

In-Person Courses: Beginning March 2023, GAO is offering several courses exclusively through live, in-person training at a requesting agency’s training site (see Registration for Group Courses).  The in-person course is 2 ½ days long. The course begins at 8:30 AM each day and ends at approximately 3:45 PM on Days 1 and 2 and 11:30 AM on Day 3.  The course generally qualifies for 17 CPE credits. See below for a complete course outline.

Registration

Registration for Group Courses

In the past year, GAO has taught group courses for the Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Justice, Navy, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, among others.  FY 2023 PAL group courses will be taught virtually and in person:

  • Virtual group courses can accommodate up to 35 agency employees for a fee of $3,500.
  • In-person group courses are taught at various federal agencies and can accommodate up to 35 agency employees for a fee of $6,700 (plus additional costs for instructor travel expenses for group courses held outside the Washington, D.C. local travel area)

GAO will begin accepting group course requests starting November 29 (we will not consider requests received before November 29).  All classes are on a first come, first served basis.  Participants should send an email to PALCourse@GAO.GOV to register for a course.  In the subject line of the email, you must include (Group Course/Date).  All registrations must be received by COB, Tuesday, December 20, 2022.  Only one POC from each agency can register their group.  Confirmed registrations will only be sent to the agency POC.  If your circumstances change after GAO has confirmed your attendance, please email PALCourse@GAO.GOV to decline the offer and free it up for someone else.

Registration for Open Enrollment Course

Each fiscal year, GAO offers at least one PAL course on an “open enrollment” basis, meaning that GAO enrolls individual federal employees for a fee of $300 per seat.  GAO will begin accepting open enrollment requests starting November 29 (we will not consider requests received before November 29).  All requests are on a first come, first served basis.  Participants should send an email to PALCourse@GAO.GOV to register for the course.  In the subject line of the email, you must include (Open Enrollment Course).  The FY 2023 open enrollment course will be taught virtually on Wednesday, August 23, 2023.

If GAO has offered you a seat, your agency must finalize your registration by completing both steps of GAO’s advance payment process, i.e., (1) the execution of an interagency agreement AND (2) the use of a government credit card to make advance payment via PAY.GOV.  Failure to complete this process (or request an extension) within 8 weeks of the course may result in the loss of your seat.  In addition, if your circumstances change after GAO offers you a seat, please email PALCourse@GAO.GOV to decline the seat and free it up for someone else.

FY 2023 PAL Group Course Schedule

Virtual Group Course Dates

  • January 10, 2023
  • January 25, 2023
  • February 7, 2023
  • February 23, 2023
  • March 22, 2023
  • May 2, 2023
  • June 13, 2023
  • July 12, 2023
  • August 17, 2023
  • September 13, 2023

In-Person Group Course Dates**

  • March 7‒9, 2023
  • April 18‒20, 2023
  • May 17‒19, 2023
  • June 27‒29, 2023
  • July 19‒21, 2023
  • August 29‒31, 2023
  • September 27‒29, 2023

**Please note that the dates for In-Person classes may change.

Course Outline

Virtual Course

  1. Introduction
    1. Constitution
    2. Major Statutes
    3. Key Concepts
    4. Appropriations Law Framework

  2. Availability of Appropriations: Purpose
    1. The Purpose Statute
    2. Purpose Three-Step Analysis

  3. Availability of Appropriations: Time
    1. Time Limitations
    2. Duration of Appropriation Availability
    3. The Bona Fide Needs Rule
    4. Account Closing Law

  4. Availability of Appropriations: Amount
    1. Antideficiency Act
    2. Impoundment Control Act
    3. Miscellaneous Receipts Statute

  5. Recording Obligations and Inter- and Intra-agency Transactions
  6. Resources

In-Person Course

  1. Introduction to Appropriations Law
    1. Constitution and Major Statutes
    2. Annual Budget and Appropriations Process
    3. Budget Execution and Control
    4. Apportionment and Allotment
    5. Obligating and Disbursing Funds
    6. Impoundment

  2. Terminology and Classification
  3. Statutory Construction
  4. Availability of Appropriations: Purpose
    1. Purpose Three-Step Analysis
    2. Necessary Expense Rule
    3. Statutory Purpose Restrictions
    4. Other Available Appropriations

  5. Availability of Appropriations: Amount
    1. Antideficiency Act: Provisions, Exceptions, Sanctions and Applications
    2. Rules Against Augmentation, and the Miscellaneous Receipts Act

  6. Availability of Appropriations: Time
    1. General Rule
    2. Bona Fide Needs Rule
    3. Prohibition on Advanced Payments
    4. Account Closing Law

  7. Obligation of Appropriations
  8. Interagency Transactions

**Please note that the outline for the In-Person course may change.

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