Legislative Glossary Archives
Backdoor Spending Authority - legislative glossary
Backdoor Spending Authority
Budget authority provided in legislation outside of the normal appropriations process. The most common forms of backdoor spending are borrowing authority, contract authority, entitlements, and loan guarantees that commit the government to payments of principal and interest on loans - such as Guaranteed Student Loans - made by banks or other private lenders. Loan guarantees result in actual outlays only when there is a default by the borrower.
In some cases, such as interest on the public debt, a permanent appropriation is provided that becomes available without further action by Congress.
Discretionary Appropriations - legislative glossary
Appropriations not mandated by existing law and therefore made available annually in appropriation bills in such amounts as Congress chooses. As defined by the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990, it refers to budget authority - and the outlays derived from it - provided in the annual appropriations acts, other than appropriated entitlements.
For federal budget process training, see our "Understanding Congressional Budgeting and Appropriations"