Discretionary / Discretionary Spending (CongressionalGlossary.com)

From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms

Discretionary usually modifies “spending,” “appropriation,” or “amount.”

Discretionary spending refers to outlays from budget authority that is provided in and controlled by annual appropriation acts.

Discretionary appropriation refers to those budgetary resources that are provided in appropriation acts, other than those that fund mandatory programs.

Discretionary amount refers to the level of budget authority, outlays, or other budgetary resources (other than those which fund mandatory programs) that are provided in, and controlled by, appropriation acts.

Contrast to Mandatory Spending.


Discretionary and mandatory outlays of the US Federal Government







The Federal Budget Process 2E

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Citizen’s Handbook to Influencing Elected Officials: A Guide for Citizen Lobbyists and Grassroots Advocates

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