FY 2016 Federal Budget: President's Request vs. Spending

What Obama Budgeted in 2016 and What Congress Spent

FY 2016 Budget
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the counter-ISIL campaign in the Pentagon briefing room December 14, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. President Obama met previously with a National Security Council on the counter-ISIL campaign. Photo: Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

The fiscal year 2016 federal budget explains U.S. government revenue and spending from October 1, 2015, through September 30, 2016. Revenue of $3.268 trillion was less than $3.853 trillion in spending. That created a $585 billion budget deficit. 

The president submitted the Fiscal Year 2016 budget proposal to Congress on February 2, 2015. Congress passed a $1.15 trillion spending bill on December 18, 2015. The budget process involves nine steps before a bill for the official annual budget can be finalized. This process usually begins a full year before the fiscal year does.

Here is a breakdown of FY 2016 budget revenue and spending. It compares the most recent estimates, including the amount appropriated by Congress, to the president's budget.


The federal government received $3.268 trillion in FY 2016. That's lower than president's budget estimate of $3.545 trillion. Income taxes contributed 47 percent, payroll taxes were 34 percent, and corporate taxes were 9 percent. The remaining 10 percent came from excise taxes, estate taxes, interest on Federal Reserve deposits, and other miscellaneous sources.

Tax Freedom Day occurred in late April. That's how long each taxpayer works to pay for all Federal revenue collected. 


The government spent $3.853 trillion, slightly less than the president's budget of $3.99 trillion. Mandatory spending came in lower than the president's estimate. Congressional appropriations for discretionary spending programs were higher. Here's the breakdown:

Mandatory: The government spent $2.427 trillion on mandated benefits, less than the $2.543 trillion budgeted. This portion of the budget is an estimate, not an appropriation. Congress mandated the benefit payments when it originally passed the laws that created the programs. 

  • Social Security - $910 billion spent out of $938 billion budgeted. Payroll taxes fund 100 percent of the cost.
  • Medicare - $588 billion, slightly over the $583 billion that was budgeted. Payroll taxes and premiums fund 57 percent of the cost.
  • Medicaid - $368 billion, also over the $351 billion budgeted. This was paid out of the general fund.
  • All other - $561 billion from the $497 billion budgeted amount. Food Stamps and Supplemental Security for the Disabled are paid out of the general fund. Unemployment Compensation is partially funded by payroll taxes. The Affordable Care Act and the Troubled Asset Relief Program are self-funded.

Interest payments on the national debt are not officially part of the mandatory budget, but the payments are in fact mandatory because they must be made. The expected payment is $233, higher than the $223 billion budgeted. 

Discretionary: The president's budget was $1.086 trillion. As you can see, Congress didn't cut much. Here's the budget compared to what was allocated for the major departments:

                       FY 2016 Budget Request versus Allocation (in billions)

Department President's Request (Source: FY 2016 Budget) Congressional Allocation (Source: FY 2017 Budget)
Department of Defense $534.3 $521.7
Health and Human Services $79.9 $84.6
Education $70.7 $68.3
Veterans Affairs $70.2 $71.6
Homeland Security $41.2 $41.1
Energy Department $29.9 $29.6
National Nuclear Security Administration $12.6 $12.5
Housing and Urban Development $41.0 $37.5
Justice Department $14.9 $28.7
State Department (includes Foreign Aid) $46.3 $37.9
NASA $18.5 $19.3
All Other Programs $221.1 $940.3
TOTAL Base Budget $1,086.8 $1,080.2
Emergency Funding $68.1 $82.8
TOTAL DISCRETIONARY $1,154.9 $1,163.0

Emergency Funding: Congress allowed emergency funding outside its spending bill. That boosted discretionary funding to $1.163 trillion. A portion goes toward Overseas Contingency Operations to fund wars. After Hurricane Katrina, it included disaster relief. It's continued to expand over the years to include the following:

  • Defense OCO: $58.6 billion.
  • State and Homeland Security OCO: $15.1 billion.
  • Disaster Relief: $7.1 billion.
  • Program Integrity: $1.5 billion. 


The FY 2016 deficit is $685 billion, less than the president's proposed deficit of $744 billion. A historical comparison of U.S. budget deficits may be made by correlating the U.S. deficit by year and its deficit by president. (Source: "Tables S-5, S-11. Mid-Session Review Fiscal Year 2017," Office of Management and Budget, July 15, 2016. "FY 2017 Budget," February 9, 2016. "FY 2016 Budget," February 2, 2015. )

Compare to Other U.S. Federal Budgets

  • Current Federal Budget: FY 2020
  • FY 2019
  • FY 2018
  • FY 2017
  • FY 2016
  • FY 2015
  • FY 2014
  • FY 2013
  • FY 2012
  • FY 2011
  • FY 2010
  • FY 2009
  • FY 2008
  • FY 2007
  • FY 2006
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