Contract Authority. Budget authority that permits an agency to incurobligations in advance of appropriations, including collections sufficient to liquidate the obligation or receipts. Contract authority is unfunded, and a subsequent appropriation or offsetting collection is needed to liquidate the obligations. The Food and Forage Act (41 U.S.C. § 11) and the Price Anderson Act (42 U.S.C. § 2210) are examples of such authority.
A form of Budget Authority that permits obligations to be made in advance of appropriations. Most of the programs under the Federal-Aid Highway Program operate under Contract Authority.
A form of budget authority that permits obligations to be made in advance of appropriations or receipts. Contract authority therefore is unfunded and requires a subsequent appropriation or offsetting collection to liquidate (pay) the obligations. The federal-aid highway program has operated under contract authority since 1921.
Statutory authority, not necessarily provided through the appropriations process, that permits Federal agencies to enter into contracts or incur other obligations in advance of an appropriation.
Contract Authority has been defined 9 different ways in documents like Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, Title 23, Part 1200, Subpart A, Congressional Budget Office Glossary of Terms, A Glossary of Terms Used in the Federal Budget Process, and 6 more.