Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

PolitiFact.com | Tampa Bay Times
Sorting out the truth in politics

Booker wrong on discretionary spending under Obama

The statement

Says that under President Barack Obama, there's been "the lowest discretionary spending we've had in decades in the United States."

Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, N.J., on NBC's Meet The Press

The ruling

Newark Mayor Cory Booker argued May 20 in a roundtable discussion that Obama needs to remind Americans of his accomplishments, such as overseeing the lowest level of discretionary spending in decades.

"First of all, I think it's a race for President Obama to remind the American public (of) the kind of things he's been doing and stop letting the other side steal his narrative," said Booker, a Democrat and a representative of the Obama campaign. "He's a guy that's cut taxes on small business, the lowest discretionary spending we've had in decades in the United States."

It's actually the other way around.

As a percentage of gross domestic product — which is a measure of the nation's economy — discretionary spending under Obama has reached its highest level in about two decades, according to the White House's Office of Management and Budget.

Booker spokeswoman Anne Torres acknowledged that the mayor's statement was wrong.

"You're correct," Torres told us. "He misspoke."

There are two main categories of federal spending: discretionary and mandatory. Discretionary spending is controlled by lawmakers through annual appropriation acts. Mandatory spending is generally based on program parameters, such as those for Social Security and Medicare.

Discretionary spending represents nearly 40 percent of all federal outlays and is made up of defense and nondefense items.

In fiscal year 2010 — Obama's first complete fiscal year as president — discretionary spending hit 9.4 percent of GDP, marking the highest amount since fiscal year 1987. In fiscal year 2011, discretionary spending dropped to 9 percent.

Before fiscal years 2010 and 2011, discretionary spending had not reached 9 percent since fiscal year 1991.

In a deal to raise the nation's debt ceiling, Obama and Congress agreed last summer to set caps on certain types of future discretionary spending. Due in large part to those caps, discretionary spending is projected to reach historic lows in the years ahead.

We rate the statement False.

This ruling has been edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com.

Booker wrong on discretionary spending under Obama 05/28/12 [Last modified: Monday, May 28, 2012 8:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Hulk Hogan talks Tampa Bay, depression and politics on Fox News' 'Objectified'

    Blogs

    For better or worse, Terry "Hulk Hogan" Bollea is our guy.

    Hulk Hogan shows Harvey Levin his wrestling boots on Fox News' "Objectified."
  2. Pumpkin pileup: Fiery crash causes mess, closes portion of I-75 in Pasco

    Accidents

    Drivers on Interstate 75 in Pasco County should expect continued delays on Friday as road crews work to clean up a mess of debris — and pumpkins — left behind after a fiery semitrailer truck crash in the early morning hours.

    Road crews clean up a mess of crash debris - and pumpkins - left behind after a fiery semitrailer truck crash on Interstate 75 in Pasco County on Sept. 22, 2017. [Florida Highway Patrol]
  3. Cannon Fodder podcast: Key matchups in Bucs-Vikings game

    Blogs

    In our latest Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast, Greg Auman breaks down five key matchups that will help decide Sunday's Bucs game against the Minnesota Vikings.

    Defensive lineman Chris Baker is a question mark heading into Sunday's game against the Vikings.
  4. Rick and Tom podcast: Will Bucs go 2-0? Are Gators on upset alert?

    Blogs

    It's football friday as Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down the Bucs' game in Minnesota, including the improved offensive line.

    Ali Marpet moved from guard to center on an improved Bucs offensive line.
  5. In this Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, photo distributed on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a statement in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's speech to the United Nations, in Pyongyang, North Korea. Kim, in an extraordinary and direct rebuke, called Trump "deranged" and said he will "pay dearly" for his threats, a possible indication of more powerful weapons tests on the horizon. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. [Associated Press]