This op-ed by Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert L. Bixby appeared Saturday in the Wichita Eagle.
By Robert L. Bixby
Discretionary spending is the portion of the federal budget determined through the Congressional appropriations process. Approximately one-third of the budget is made up of discretionary spending -- a portion that has been shrinking since the 1960's.
Discretionary spending is evenly divided between two categories: defense and non-defense. Defense spending includes spending by the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy -- which has jurisdiction over nuclear weapons. Recent war spending is also included. Non-defense discretionary spending includes such categories as law enforcement, education, homeland security, environmental protection, transportation, disaster relief, medical research and foreign aid.