Discretionary Budget Authority by Subfunction: An Overview [February 14, 2012]   [open pdf - 1MB]

"President Obama's FY2013 [Fiscal Year 2013] budget submission was released on February 13, 2012. This report provides a graphical overview of historical trends in discretionary budget authority (BA) from FY1976 through FY2011, enacted levels for FY2012 spending, and the levels consistent with the President's proposals for FY2013 through FY2017. Spending caps and budget enforcement mechanisms established in the Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25; BCA) will probably strongly affect the FY2013 budget cycle. The BCA was signed into law on August 2, 2011, after months of intense negotiations over alternative plans to reduce the deficit and raise the debt limit. As the 112th Congress considers funding levels for FY2013 and beyond, past spending trends may prove useful in framing policy discussions. For example, rapid growth in national defense and other security spending in the past decade has played an important role in fiscal discussions. The sharp increases in federal spending on education, energy, and other areas funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA; P.L. 111-5) have been noted in recent budget debates. Since FY2010, however, base defense discretionary spending has been held flat and nondefense discretionary spending has been reduced significantly. The base defense budget excludes war funding (Overseas Contingency Operations). This report may provide a starting point for discussions about spending trends and federal priorities, but it does not attempt to explain spending patterns in each policy area. Other CRS [Congressional Research Services] products, however, can provide insights into those spending trends in specific functional areas."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R41726
Public Domain
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