Spending that’s not dependent on an annual or multiyear appropriations bill. Most mandatory spending is associated with such entitlement programs as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Other forms of mandatory spending — salaries of federal judges, for example — account for a relatively small share of federal spending.
Mandatory spending in fiscal 2010 was $1.91 trillion, or about 55 percent of total federal spending. Most of this was for Social Security ($701 billion), Medicare ($520 billion), Medicaid ($273 billion) and unemployment insurance ($159 billion).
See also: Discretionary spending
National Debt Glossary
Looks up the key terms for understanding America's financial crisis
Frequently Asked Questions: National Debt
- How did the national debt get to be so big?
- What's the difference between the debt and the deficit?
- Why can't the government just print more money to get out of debt?
- How much U.S. debt is owned by foreign countries?