Build Your Own Discretionary Budget

Each year, Congress must pass a new set of appropriations bills to fund the discretionary side of the budget and avoid a government shutdown. There has been a recent interest in reducing or slowing the growth of discretionary spending, which has increased by 37 percent since 2017.

The new Build Your Own Discretionary Budget tool allows users to set appropriations levels and growth rates for fiscal year 2024 (FY 2024) and beyond. These levels could represent near-term 302 (a) allocations or medium-term discretionary spending caps. The tool estimates the total budgetary costs or savings from the user-set discretionary path.

Download Build Your Own Discretionary Budget

For example, reducing next year’s appropriations to FY 2022 levels and then growing spending by 1 percent per year would save $288 billion over two years and $3 trillion over a decade. As a result, it would reduce the national debt by 8.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2033 versus baseline projections.

Download Build Your Own Discretionary Budget

The tool sets top-line numbers, and it would be the responsibility of policymakers to determine how those funds are divvied.

The tool provides a variety of pre-set options to create a discretionary budget for the next decade as well as the ability to manually input custom scenarios. Users can choose to adjust overall appropriations levels or set defense and nondefense budget authority separately.

The tool is still in beta-testing mode, so please contact us if you identify any errors or believe we should add additional features. You can also check out our other tools including Build Your Own Child Tax Credit, Build Your Own Carbon Tax, the Debt Fixer, the Social Security Reformer, the Is It Worth It? tool, and a suite of Budgeting for the Future interactives.

Download Build Your Own Discretionary Budget

To design your own discretionary budget for the next decade, download our tool here. Tweet your results with the tag #BYOBudget.