Discretionary Spending / Appropriations


The Budget divides all spending into two broad categories. About 30% of federal spending is called “discretionary spending,” because the amount of spending flows from annual funding decisions by Congress’ Appropriations Committees.

(The other 70% of the budget is called “mandatory spending,” because the amount of outlays flow from legal obligations of the federal government established in law–mostly in the form of “entitlement” programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.)

The 30% of the budget that is “discretionary” is about one-half funding for defense programs and one-half for non-defense programs.

Discretionary spending is enacted annually by the Appropriations Committees through 12 regular appropriations bills (although sometimes the bills are packaged together into an “omnibus” measure.”)

For current details on appropriations, click here for:

FedWeb Appropriations Portal

Non-Defense Discretionary Programs

Defense Discretionary Programs

Disaster Funding and Flood Insurance

Continuing Resolutions

Homeland Security Spending

Appropriations Process

Earmark Disclosure Rules

CHIMPS: Changes in Mandatory Spending through Appropriations Bills

Government Shutdown