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Glossary of Terms

  • ADF: African Development Foundation.
  • Aggregated data: The data on the planned, obligated, and spent tabs that is displayed at an aggregate level by country, sector, and agency.
  • Appropriations Act: A law that permits agencies to expend public funds, which must be passed by both Houses of Congress and signed by the President (or passed over the President’s veto) to take effect. Appropriations are required under Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution, which provides that “no money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” Most appropriations acts are subdivided into specific amounts of funding (accounts) to be spent on set categories of activities over specified amounts of time, usually one or two years. A supplemental appropriation is one enacted in between annual cycles, often to meet specific additional emergency requirements unforeseen at the time regular appropriations measures were enacted. Enacted bills can be found here.
  • Appropriation Account: The basic unit of an appropriations act, generally reflecting each unnumbered paragraph in the act. Congress appropriates funds to specific accounts, typically for certain programs, projects, and activities. The Foreign Assistance Reference Guide provides a short summary and examples of each Department of State and USAID appropriation account.
  • Appropriation Year: The fiscal year in which an Appropriation Act is enacted.
  • Budget Planning: The activities followed to formulate an agency’s contribution to the President’s Budget (the budget request). This process varies across agencies, and may include activities related to the development of plans for work and request for funds for operations at the country and sector level, resulting in a detailed Congressional Budget Justification. Some U.S. agencies, especially those for whom foreign assistance is not their main mission, do not plan to this level of detail before submitting their budget requests. For these agencies, budget planning for country-level programs begins once Congress and the President have approved the appropriations bills. The planned tab depicts an agency’s base year appropriations, supplemental appropriations, and request data.
  • Compacts: Compacts are multi-year agreements between the Millennium Challenge Corporation and an eligible country to fund specific programs targeted at reducing poverty and stimulating economic growth.
  • Congressional Budget Justification: A detailed justification of the President’s Budget Request.
  • Continuing Resolution (CR): An appropriation act that provides budget authority for federal agencies and/or specific activities to continue operations when Congress and the President have not completed action on the regular appropriation acts by the beginning of the fiscal year. A CR maybe enacted for the full year, up to a specified date, or until regular appropriations are enacted. A CR usually specifies a maximum rate at which obligations may be incurred based on levels specified in the resolution.
  • DAC: The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) is part of the Organization for Cooperative Development (OECD) and has the mandate to promote development co-operation and other policies so as to contribute to sustainable development, including pro-poor economic growth, poverty reduction, improvement of living standards in developing countries, and a future in which no country will depend on aid. The United State is a member country.
  • DHS: Department of Homeland Security.
  • Disaggregated data: The data on the transaction tab, which displays Aggregated data at a more granular level. Disaggregated, or transaction, data contains up to 37 qualitative data fields, including descriptive titles, vendor names, and location, along with the financial data.
  • Disbursement: Amounts paid by federal agencies, by cash or cash equivalent, during the fiscal year to liquidate government obligations. "Disbursement" is used interchangeably with the term "outlay."
  • DOC: Department of Commerce.
  • DOD: Department of Defense.
  • DOE: Department of Energy.
  • DOI: Department of the Interior.
  • DOJ: Department of Justice.
  • DOL: Department of Labor.
  • DOS: Department of State.
  • DOT: Department of Transportation.
  • EPA: Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Executive Budget Summary: A document that accompanies the President’s Budget Request to provide a more detailed summary of the agency’s budget request. It precedes the Congressional Budget Justification.
  • EXIM Bank: Export-Import Bank.
  • Fiscal Year (FY): A term that is used to differentiate a budget or financial year from the calendar year. It is commonly abbreviated as FY. The U.S. Government's fiscal year begins on October 1 of the previous calendar year and ends on September 30 of the year with which it is numbered. For example FY 2010 is October 1, 2009 through September 30, 2010.
  • FTC: Federal Trade Commission.
  • HHS: Department of Health and Human Services.
  • IAF: Inter-American Foundation.
  • IATI: The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) brings together donors, developing country governments, civil society, and aid information experts with a common, open, international standard for publishing aid spending. The IATI Standard consists of a schema, which sets guidelines for publishing information about aid spending to promote consistency and standardization to allow for donors, country governments, and other stakeholders to access and share comparable data. The Standard specifically refers to Organization and Activity data.
  • Implementing Mechanism: An implementing mechanism is a legally binding relationship established between the implementing agency and an implementing agent to carry out USG-funded programs. Types of implementing mechanisms include grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, activities (for appropriate agencies such as MCC, DOJ, etc.), or USG employees providing direct technical assistance (for appropriate agencies such as DOJ, OTA, etc.), etc.
  • Managing Agency: The agency to which foreign assistance funds are appropriated.
  • MCC: Millennium Challenge Corporation.
  • NAP: National Action Plan.
  • NSS: National Security Staff.
  • Obligated: Obligated funds are those funds which have been applied to activities and are referred to as obligations because they obligate the Federal Government to make outlays either immediately or in the future. Obligations may include a range of transactions, e.g., contracts, grants, guarantees, assistance agreements, etc. The obligated tab depicts funding that an agency has reported as being assigned to a program, project, contract, or initiative.
  • Organizational Unit: Agency organizational units include:
    • Country Office: a country specific overseas office working to implement programs;
    • Regional Office: an organizational unit providing support that crosses geographic boundaries, can be U.S.-based or overseas; and,
    • Functional Office: an organizational unit which manages sector specific or global programs.
  • OECD: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation as and Development (OECD) is an international organization established in 1961 with Headquarters in Paris, France.The United States is one of 34 countries that participate in the organization’s membership. The mission of the OECD is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.
  • ODA: Official Development Assistance.
  • OOF: Other Official Flows.
  • OGP: Open Government Partnership.
  • OMB: Office of Management and Budget.
  • OPIC: Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
  • President’s Budget: An annual submission from the President to both Houses of Congress that provides a comprehensive outline of all programs the President proposes to execute in the following fiscal year, and how much money is requested for their pursuit. The President’s Budget is required to be submitted by the first Monday in February, in accordance with the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, as amended.
  • Request: The President’s Budget submission to both Houses of Congress that provides a comprehensive outline of all programs the President proposes to execute in the following fiscal year, and how much money is requested for each.
  • Sector: Data is classified into one of several distinct sectors that describe what the program does and enables the aggregation, comparison, and analysis of data without double counting. The sector framework is available here. The common structure is currently under review to accommodate data from all U.S. agencies that implement foreign assistance. Please continue to check back as we phase in an updated sector framework.
  • Spent: Spent funds refer to government outlays, disbursements, and expenditures. These are measures of government spending and include the amount of checks issued, cash disbursed, interest accrued, and net of refunds and reimbursements. They are payments to liquidate obligations (other than the repayment of debt). The spent tab depicts government outlay, disbursement, and expenditure data.
  • Transaction: An individual financial record in an Agency's accounting system.
  • Threshold Programs: Threshold programs are smaller grants awarded by MCC to countries that come close to passing the criteria in order to receive a Compact grant and are firmly committed to improving their policy performance.
  • Treasury: Department of Treasury.
  • USAID: United States Agency for International Development.
  • USDA: United States Department of Agriculture.
  • USG: United States Government.
  • USTDA: United States Trade and Development Agency.
  • XML: XML is a tool used for data transmission. It stands for EXtensible Markup Language. XML contains markup symbols, which describe the contents of a Web page or file. It can be used to store and identify any kind of hierarchical information across any platform in a standard pre-defined format. XML is supported by an international standard (Standard Generalized Markup Language) and is non-proprietary.
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