Discretionary spending is the amount of spending which Congress debates and authorizes for each fiscal year. Approximately one-third of the total federal budget represents discretionary spending; the remainder is mandatory spending.
A federal budgetary terms that refers to any funds whose distribution in not automatic. Discretionary spending encompasses programs controlled by annual appropriations bills and is subject to the constraints imposed by the discretionary spending limits set in the balanced budget law.
Funding that must be appropriated each year.