Glossary of Terms
- An act of the United States Congress allowing U.S. federal agencies to incur obligations for specified purposes.
- Substantive legislation that establishes legal operation of a federal program, either indefinitely or for a specific period of time, and sanctions particular program funding levels.
- Fiscal Year (FY)
- An accounting period of 365 days (366 in leap years), but not necessarily starting on January 1. The fiscal year of the United States Government begins on October 1 and ends on September 30 and is designated by the calendar year in which it ends. Prior to FY1977, the U.S. fiscal year ran from July 1 through June 30. The three-month transition period in 1976 (July 1 through September 30) is treated as a distinct reporting period.
- Foreign Assistance
Foreign Assistance on this website is defined in Section 634(b) of the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) as "…any tangible or intangible item provided by the United States Government to a foreign country or international organization under this or any other Act, including but not limited to any training, service, or technical advice, any item of real, personal, or mixed property, any agricultural commodity, United States dollars, and any currencies of any foreign country which are owned by the United States Government…" This section further states that "…provided by the United States Government' includes, but is not limited to, foreign assistance provided by means of gift, loan, sale, credit, or guaranty."
The executive agent and place of performance do not determine whether an official transfer is foreign assistance. Such designation is based on whether foreign entities receive direct benefits from programs supported by USG funds without paying for them. Most executive agents for USG assistance programs are U.S. entities. While authorized primarily under FAA, USG foreign assistance is also authorized by other legislation. Similarly, USG foreign assistance is primarily under appropriations within budget function 150, International Affairs, in annual presentations of the Budget of the U.S. Government.
- Transfers of goods, services, or cash for which the recipient incurs no legal debt.
- Transfers for which the recipient incurs a legal debt and repayment is required over time, with or without interest, in convertible currencies or in kind.
- A binding agreement that will result in outlays, immediately or in the future. Budget resources must be available before obligations can be legally incurred.