The Antideficiency Act (ADA), Pub.L. 97–258, 96 Stat. 923, enacted September 13, 1982, is legislation enacted by the United States Congress to prevent the incurring of obligations or the making of expenditures (outlays) in excess of amounts available in appropriations or funds. It is now codified at 31 U.S.C. § 1341. The ADA prohibits the Federal government from entering into a contract that is not "fully funded" because doing so would obligate the government in the absence of an appropriation adequate to the needs of the contract. This Act of Congress is sometimes known as Section 3679 of the Revised Statutes, as amended.
This Act has evolved over time in response to various abuses. It was originally enacted in 1884; a new version was enacted in 1950. It is reasonable and accurate to note that the "Anti-Deficiency Act" (the "ADA") actually includes provisions of Title 31 that are not always associated with the principal provision of the Act which is found at 31 USC 1341. Thus, the ADA also includes 31 USC 1342, a provision which prohibits voluntary services. It also includes 31 USC 1501-1519, provisions which require that appropriated funds be subdivided, "apportioned" and "allocated" before any of the appropriated funds can be expended by the Executive Branch.
|This section requires expansion. (January 2011)|
To some extent, but not entirely, it implements the provisions of Article One of the United States Constitution, Section 9, Clause 7 (the "power of the purse"), which provides that "No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law." In part, the Act is actually inconsistent with the Constitution because it recites that expenditures without appropriations can be made where expressly permitted by Congress: the Constitution permits no such exception.
Although the ADA and its predecessors are over 120 years old, no one has ever been convicted or indicted for its violation. However, agreements have been changed and reported due to ADA violations, and punitive administrative actions are routinely taken against government employees.
An important corollary of the constitutional provision is that departments and agencies of the government may not "augment" appropriations either by raising money instead of seeking and getting an appropriation or by retaining funds collected and using them instead of receiving an appropriation. This bar to augmentation of appropriations is regularly violated by the executive branch and often with the consent of Congress. Practices in the nature of revolving funds (funds that are kept liquid by the use of "income" realized by agencies) clearly violate the augmentation limitation.
See also 
- Government Operations In The Event Of A Lapse In Appropriations
- Arnold, William G. (2009). The Antideficiency ACT Answer Book. Management Concepts. p. 112.
- Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Commerce (03 2005). Semi Annual Report to Congress. p. 37 (PDF 42).
- "Antideficiency Act Reports 2010". Antideficiency Act Reports 2010. General Accounting Office. Retrieved 20 January 2012.