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/* Entitlements as non-discretionary spending */Spelling, grammar, and general cleanup, typos fixed: Children’s → Children's
An '''entitlement''' is a [[federal]] program or provision of law that requires payments to any person or state or local [[government]], or other entities that meet the eligibility criteria established by authorizing law. Entitlements constitute a binding obligation on the part of the [[federal government]], and eligible recipients have legal recourse if the obligation is not fulfilled. [[Social Security]], veterans' compensation, and government pensions are examples of entitlement programs.<ref>[https://www.senate.gov/reference/glossary_term/entitlement.htm] US Senate Reference</ref>
==Entitlements as non-discretionary spending==
'''Entitlement spending''' can also be referred to as '''non-discretionary spending''' or [[mandatory spending]], and is not controlled through the regular annual [[appropriations]] process. Instead, entitlement spending is based on the eligibility and benefit criteria established in law, which is under the jurisdiction of the various authorizing committees of the [[House]] and [[Senate]].
The total amount of spending on entitlements has been determined by the aggregate total of all individual benefits. Most entitlement spending, such as for [[Medicare]], is not capped at a specific spending level, and typically increases each year as the number of eligible beneficiaries and the authorized benefit payments increases. However, some entitlement spending—particularly entitlement payments to states, such as the State Children's Health Insurance Program (commonly referred to as CHIP)—is capped at a specific level provided in the authorizing law.
Most entitlement spending bypasses the annual appropriations process altogether and is funded by
permanent or multiyear appropriations in substantive law. Such spending becomes available
automatically each year, without legislative action by Congress. Examples of such programs
include [[Social Security]], Medicare, and federal employee retirement.<ref>[http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RS20129.pdf Entitlements and Appropriated Entitlements in the Federal Budget Process], Congressional Research Service, November 26, 2012.</ref>
==Budget Act of 1974==
The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 attempted to limit the use of entitlement authority. The key characteristic of entitlements is that, once enacted, the authorizing legislation automatically creates enforceable claims to benefits and thus effectively preempts the formal appropriations process. Thus, the determination of outlays at any given time is a function of variables outside
the control of the appropriations committees.
==Current spending on entitlements==
In the Fiscal Year 2013 budget that President Obama originally proposed to Congress, 62% of the United States federal budget went for non-discretionary, mandatory spending, including entitlements.<ref>[http://nationalpriorities.org/media/uploads/federal_budget_101/Figure8.3.png]</ref>
[[Category:United States Senate Terms]]
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