Discretionary Spending Options

Discretionary spending—the part of federal spending that lawmakers control through annual appropriation acts—totaled about $1.2 trillion in 2013, CBO estimates, or about 35 percent of federal outlays. Just over half of that spending was for defense programs; the rest paid for an array of nondefense activities. Some fees and other charges that are triggered by appropriation action are classified in the budget as offsetting collections and are credited against discretionary spending.