CHIMPS: Changes in Mandatory Programs

CHIMPS (Changes in Mandatory Programs)

  • Federal spending can be divided into three general budget categories — discretionary spending, mandatory spending (including entitlements and other direct spending), and net interest.
  • Discretionary spending is determined by annual funding decisions set forth in 12 annual appropriations bills — drafted by the Appropriations Committees and enacted by Congress.
  • Discretionary spending is controlled by statutory spending caps on total defense and total non-defense discretionary spending; the caps are are enforced by the Office of Management and Budget through sequestration.
  • Discretionary spending is also enforced through allocation of total appropriations among the 12 Appropriations Subcommittees in the House and Senate; the allocations are are enforced through parliamentary points of order in the House and Senate.
  • Changes in mandatory programs (CHIMPs) are provisions in annual appropriations acts that reduce mandatory spending in order to enable additional discretionary spending.
  • CHIMPs are sometimes criticized as a “budgetary gimmick” to:

CRS:  Overview of CHIMPS

CBO Response to Question on CHIMPs

Historical Trends in Discretionary Spending

EXAMPLE: CHIMPs in Agriculture Appropriations

CRFB webpage on CHIMPs