FY 2017 Federal Budget Compared to Trump's Spending

The Bottom Line: A $666 Billion Deficit

The fiscal year 2017 federal budget outlined U.S. government revenue and spending from October 1, 2016, through September 30, 2017. The budget process began while President Barack Obama was in office. The budget was amended by President Donald Trump in his inaugural year. Congress enacted the appropriation bills to guide spending.

The Office of Management and Budget reported the final tally. Government revenue was $3.316 trillion, while $3.982 trillion was actually spent.

Result: a $666 billion budget deficit – more than $100 billion projected by the original budget.


FY 2017 revenue was $3.316 trillion. Income taxes contributed $1.587 trillion, payroll taxes were $1.163 trillion, and corporate taxes added $297 billion. The remaining $269 billion was from excise taxes, estate taxes, interest on Federal Reserve deposits, and other miscellaneous sources. 

Tax Freedom Day occurred on April 23. That's how long taxpayers worked to pay for all government revenue collected. 


FY 2017 spending was $3.982 trillion. Federal government spending has three components: discretionary, mandatory and interest on the debt. 


Congress appropriate funds each year for agencies covered by the discretionary budget. For FY 2017, Congress appropriated $1.1 trillion, the limit set by sequestration. The Trump administration spent $1.08 trillion. It shifted spending from Education, Energy, and Housing to Defense, Health and Human Services, and the State Department.

Congress appropriated $133.2 billion in Emergency Funding, which is not subject to sequestration. Most of that went to Overseas Contingency Operations, which paid for military operations in the Middle East. It included $15 billion in emergency funds for Hurricane Harvey and  $19.5 billion for Hurricane Irma.  Congress added those funds in October 2017.

The chart below compares Obama's budget to Trump's amended version. It also shows the appropriations Congress enacted on May 1, 2017, compared to actual department spending.

FY 2017 Budget: Obama Budget Request, Trump's Budget Request, Amount Enacted by Congress, Amount Spent by Agencies (in billions)

DepartmentObama BudgetTrump Budget EnactedSpent
Defense Dept   $523.9   $546.6    $516.1   $523.2
Education     $69.4     $63.6      $68.0     $66.9
Energy     $30.2     $27.7      $37.8     $30.2
NNSA     $12.9     $12.5      $12.9     $12.8
Health     $77.9     $72.4      $73.5     $87.1
Homeland     $40.6     $44.1      $42.4     $42.4
HUD     $38.0     $33.6      $38.8     $34.0
NASA     $18.3     $19.2      $19.7     $19.7
State     $37.8     $35.4      $36.6    $38.7
VA     $75.1     $74.5      $75.1    $74.4
All Other Depts.   $135.9   $131.9    $128.9   $169.3
Subtotal$1,065.2$1,080.5 $1,070.0$1,085.9
Emergency Funding     $84.2   $101.8    $101.8  $133.2
Total Discretionary $1,149.4$1,182.3 $1,171.8$1,219.1

President Obama submitted the FY 2017 request to Congress on February 9, 2016. That initiated the budget process. Congress can use the president's budget as a guide for its appropriations.

This becomes the annual discretionary spending bill. Congress would have submitted the bill to the President for signature by September 30, 2016, if it had followed this process.

But it was an election year. So, Congress passed a bill called a "continuing resolution." It continued funding for federal departments at then-current levels. Otherwise, the government would have shut down like it did in 2013

President Trump submitted a budget amendment on March 16, 2017. It asked Congress to change discretionary spending from the amount it enacted in its continuing resolution.  

On April 30, 2017, Congressional leaders agreed on a budget. The Senate and House approved the spending bill on May 1, 2017. It appropriated $1.1 trillion in discretionary spending. Congress added $101.8 billion in emergency funding.

The Republican-led Congress spent more than the Democrat Obama.


The government spent $2.519 trillion on mandated benefits. This portion of the budget is an estimate, not an appropriation. Congress can't change it as part of the normal budget process. Congress mandated the benefit payments when it passed the laws that created the programs. The most recent estimates are from the FY 2019 budget.

  • Social Security – $939 billion. Payroll taxes fund 100 percent of the cost.
  • Medicare – $591 billion. Payroll taxes and premiums fund 57 percent of the cost.
  • Medicaid – $375 billion. Paid out of the general fund.
  • All other – $614 billion. This includes food stamps and Supplemental Security Income. All programs are paid out of the general fund except for Unemployment Compensation, which is partially funded by payroll taxes. The Affordable Care Act and TARP are self-funded.

Interest on the Debt

Interest payments on the national debt are not officially part of the mandatory budget, but the payments must be made. In FY 2017, they amounted to $263 billion. That will increase in future years now that interest rates are rising


The FY 2017 deficit was $666 billion, $100 billion higher than budgeted. Revenue came in $100 billion less than expected. Spending was $3.9 trillion, slightly less than budgeted but not enough to help the deficit. It was the fifth-highest U.S. deficit by year. It made Trump creator of the third-highest deficit by a president, following Obama and Bush.

FY 2017 (in billions)Subtotal TotalSubtotalTotal
Revenue $3,460 $3,316
Mandatory$2,573 $2,519 
Interest on the Debt   $276   $263 
Discretionary$1,172 $1,219 
Total Spending $4,021 $3,982
Deficit    $561    $666

(Sources: "Congress's Enacted Budget," May 1, 2017, except for Justice and VA, which are based on Congress' budget enacted in FY 2016. "What's in the Spending Bill?" The Washington Post, May 1, 2017.) 

Compare FY 2017 to Other U.S. Federal Budgets