Mandatory versus Discretionary Budget

Mandatory versus Discretionary Budget

In the USA, the federal budget has two provisions of spending, namely mandatory and discretionary spending. In essence, this discussion aims at distinguishing between the two types of spending by analyzing their key components. With such distinction, it is beyond doubt that one will come to a new understanding of the USA federal budget.

Mandatory spending refers to the category of budgeting legislated by the Congress outside the annual appropriations process. The law demands that the eligible persons or parties receive this money every year. As such, eligibility is the sole requirement of the mandatory spending. A typical example of an expenditure of this kind is the Medicare benefits (Turnock, 2016). That is the case since eligible persons have an entitlement to this money whenever they seek healthcare services.

On the contrary, discretionary spending refers to the portion of the federal budget, which changes every year following the Congress decision through the annual appropriations process. A befitting example of expenditure that falls in this category of the federal budget is the spending incurred in military programs (Turnock, 2016). Such is the case given the varied nature of military needs of each year. As such, the spending changes yearly.

Last but not the least, most public health programs fall under the discretionary spending. They are under this category since the allocation of funds for these programs is on a yearly basis and after annual appropriations process (Novick, Morrow, & Mays, 2008).

In closure, from this analysis, it is clear that mandatory and discretionary spending are two distinct types of budget. An understanding of the same is of the essence, as it will help individuals point out deficiencies after each budgeting session and negotiate better terms. By so doing, the economic growth of the country is inevitable.


Novick, L. F., Morrow, C. B., & Mays, G. P. (2008). Public health administration: Principles for population-based management.Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Pub.

Turnock, B. J. (2016). Essentials of public health.