Budget — Federal

Congress Should Finish 2015 Appropriations Before Adjourning

Postponing decisions deep into the fiscal year would damage government operations, hampering planning and cramming important decisions about programs, contracts, and grants into the last few months of the fiscal year.

 

Senate Approach to 2015 Appropriations Better Protects Domestic Priorities

Although both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees formulated their appropriations bills for fiscal year 2015 to comply with the 2011 Budget Control Act’s caps, the two committees have allocated the available funding in different ways.

For at least three key domestic bills — Labor-Health and Human Services-Education, Transportation-Housing and Urban Development, and Financial Services & General Government — the Senate approach is far preferable.

 

Non-Defense Discretionary Programs Have Seen Large Cuts and Face More Cuts in 2015

In Congress’ negotiations over 2015 funding levels during the lame-duck session, the Budget Control Act caps, as further reduced by sequestration, will continue to squeeze available funding for non-defense discretionary programs, which encompass all non-defense spending other than interest payments and entitlements programs.

Ebola Response Is Appropriate Use of Emergency Funding Under Budget Control Act

The Administration has requested $6.2 billion to continue and expand measures to respond to the Ebola epidemic and has asked that these amounts be provided on an emergency basis, meaning they would not count toward the Budget Control Act’s appropriations caps.

This request to use emergency funding to help control the epidemic in West Africa, accelerate development of drugs and vaccines, and improve preparedness in the United States is entirely appropriate.

More on Issues for Congress’ Lame Duck Session: Ineffective “Bonus Depreciation” Tax Break Should Remain Expired

 

Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment Poses Serious Risks

A balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution would be a highly ill-advised way to address the nation’s long-term fiscal problems. It would threaten significant economic harm while raising a host of problems for the operation of Social Security and other vital federal functions.

 

CBPP’s Updated Projections Show Long-Term Budget Outlook Is Significantly Improved but Remains Challenging

No deficit or debt crisis looms, and the weak labor market remains the nation’s most immediate economic concern.  Policymakers should address the need both for immediate measures to strengthen the job market and for measures to reduce longer-term deficits, which should take effect when the economy has more fully recovered.

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Basics

The federal budget outlines the U.S. government’s spending plans for the coming fiscal year and how it plans to pay for that spending. The three biggest areas of federal spending in 2010 were defense and security, Social Security, and public health insurance programs, each of which made up roughly one-fifth of the budget. Roughly four-fifths of the revenue that the federal government collected to pay for these programs came from individuals, through income and payroll taxes.

Policy Basics:
- Where Do Our Tax Dollars Go?
- Introduction to the Federal Budget Process
- Deficits, Debt, and Interest
- Non-Defense Discretionary Programs

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The Center informs the debate over federal budget priorities by analyzing the President’s budget and major congressional proposals throughout the annual budget process. We pay particular attention to the adequacy of funding for programs that assist low- and moderate-income families. We also analyze long-term budget challenges and measures to address them. In addition, we promote measures to improve fiscal responsibility.

By the Numbers

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