Civics – Funding Government

2018 spending Budget $4.14 trillion
Mandatory – 61.5% of total budget. Not up for debate or vote.
Interest – 7.6% of total budget. Not up for debate or vote.
Defense – 15.0 % of total budget. Can be voted on to change.
Nondefense or Discretionary portion of the total budget has 12 separate appropriations and is really the only portion of the budget that can be appropriated each year.
Discretionary spending

Discretionary spending is debated through the annual budget and appropriations process and fund programs such as education, veterans, infrastructure and defense. Discretionary programs equal only 30.9% of all federal dollars allocated each year when Congress sets the funding priorities. In 2018, close to 15% of the federal budget went to fund the National Defense, so other discretionary spending was only approximately 16% (662.4 billion) of the $4.14 trillion budget.

2018 Federal Government Revenue was $3.321 Trillion
$1.6 Trillion from Income Taxes
$1.7 Trillion from Payroll Taxes
$205 Billion from Corporate Taxes
$270 Billion from “Other”

Congressman Thomas Massie, from Kentucky, on Government Shutdowns

How does a small faction of Congress take government spending hostage and demand legislation unrelated to the funding bill?

Is this how the funding process is supposed to work?

How do we avoid this in the future?

Why is it important to pass separate appropriation bills for the various portions of the government?

Congressman Thomas Massie answers those questions and more in this short video! (Created, January 22, 2018)

*Congressional Budget Act is 12 separate appropriation bills to determine how to budget the DISCRETIONARY spending from the federal budget.
*Omnibus is one vote on all of them at once, AKA Continuing Resolution (CR)

Automatic Spending (Mandatory) 

The rest of the federal budget is ‘automatic spending’, meaning deducted from the federal budget through scheduled payments because the government is legally required to do so. Federal “automatic” payments in 2016 constituted approximately 73% of the budget.

Some examples of “automatic” spending are:

Social Security
Obamacare (Affordable Care Act)
Income security programs (e.g. SNAP, TANF, Earned Income Tax Credit)
Interest on the national debt

In the chart below, you’ll see the percentage of the budget broken down by each government program that is deemed ‘automatic’.

Additional information on this subject:

Appropriations 101

Appropriations Watch: FY 2019