An advance appropriations point of order enforces the spending allocations set for each congressional committee in the annual budget resolution.
Decisions about spending, revenue and budget processes established in a budget resolution are enforced in the House and Senate mainly through a procedural hurdle known as a “point of order.” Points of order may be raised by a House or Senate member against legislation or an amendment if it violates spending and revenue levels as contained in the most recent budget resolution or if it violates other budget laws and rules. A point of order, if raised, removes a bill, amendment, or offending provision from legislative consideration. In the House, points of order can be waived by a simple majority vote. In the Senate, some points of order can be waived with a simple majority, but most require a higher threshold to waive, usually 60 votes. It is important to note, however, that a member of the House or Senate must first raise a point of order to strike an offending provision or prevent the consideration of legislation or an amendment that violates a budget rule. Oftentimes a point of order applies to a bill or an amendment, but no Member will raise it.
The advance appropriations point of order is designed to limit which programs can be funded through advance appropriations and the total amount of advances made in the current appropriations cycle. The point of order currently applies to any fiscal year 2008 appropriation bill or amendment that would advance appropriate more than $25.2 billion in budget authority for 2009. Additionally, advances made for non-approved programs trigger the point of order. The point of order applies only to the offending provision and does not prevent consideration of the underlying bill or amendment. It may be waived by a majority vote in the House and a three-fifths vote in the Senate.