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The Omnibus Appropriations Act: Are Appropriations for Domestic Programs Out of Control?

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Publication Date: February 2004

Publisher(s): Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (Washington, D.C.)

Author(s): Richard Kogan

Funder(s): Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (Washington, D.C.)

Funder(s): Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (Washington, D.C.)

Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Topic: Banking and finance (Public finance)

Keywords: Federal budget; Economic projections; Fiscal future

Type: Report


The President recently signed the omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year 2004. Debate over this legislation has been accompanied by charges that appropriations in general — and appropriations for domestic programs in particular — are spiraling out of control.

This analysis examines the rate of growth in appropriated (or “discretionary”) programs in fiscal year 2004, now that the omnibus bill has become law. The analysis also examines growth rates in discretionary programs over the past several years. The analysis is based on official Congressional Budget Office estimates of funding (or “budget authority”) for discretionary programs, adjusted to account for technical anomalies.