Discretionary spending is the part of the us federal budget that congress appropriates each year for fiscal year 2020 president donald trump requested 1426 trillion the constitution gave congress the authority to raise and spend money for the federal government. Federal spending where does the money go federal budget 101 facebook twitter in fiscal year 2015 the federal budget is 38 trillion these trillions of dollars make up about 21 percent of the us economy as measured by gross domestic product or gdpits also about 12000 for every woman man and child in the united states. Discretionary budget authority is established annually by congress as opposed to mandatory spending that is required by laws that span multiple years such as social security or medicare the federal government spent approximately 600 billion during 2016 on the cabinet departments and agencies excluding the department of defense up 15 . Trends in discretionary spending a distinct pattern in the federal budget since the 1970s has been the diminishing share of spending that occurs through the annual appropriation process between 1973 and 2013 discretionary spending fell from 53 percent to about 35 percent of total federal spending. As spending from budget authority provided in earlier federal budget june 2014 trends in discretionary spending measured as a percentage of gross domestic product gdp discretionary outlays declined from 131 percent in 1968 to 60 percent in 1999 before rising and then
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