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     Congress provides budget authority in laws other than appropriations acts. In fact, while annual appropriations acts control the spending for the majority of Federal programs, they only control about 35 percent of the total spending in a typical year. Authorizing legislation controls the rest of the spending. A distinctive feature of these laws is that they provide agencies with the authority to collect or to spend money without first requiring the Appropriations Committees to enact funding. This category of spending includes interest the Government pays on the public debt and the spending of several major programs, such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, unemployment insurance, and Federal employee retirement.

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