Issue Brief 16-01
January 13, 2016

Congress provides funding for discretionary grant programs through the annual appropriations process. It is not uncommon for these programs to be funded even when their authorizations have expired. However, discretionary programs account for only about 25% of federal grant funding to state and local governments. The remaining 75% is for mandatory programs, which derive their budget authority directly from authorizing legislation. Most of these programs are funded apart from the appropriations process, and must be reauthorized in a timely manner to continue to operate or undertake new activities.