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Posts on Federal Budget
August 6, 2019

The budget deal’s boost in non-defense discretionary (NDD) funding will only maintain NDD at about its 2019 level for the next two years, after adjusting for inflation, and won’t return NDD to its level of 2010. Claims that the deal provides very large NDD increases are true only when it’s measured against the 2011 Budget Control Act’s (BCA) very low sequestration-reduced funding targets,...

Non-Defense Discretionary Funding Remains Below 2010 Level Adjusted for Inflation
August 2, 2019

Discretionary spending will be near historic lows as a percent of the economy in 2020 and 2021 even with the added funding that the new bipartisan budget agreement (the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019), now awaiting the President’s signature, provides for those years. And even if the 2021 funding levels grow with inflation in later years, discretionary spending will fall to its lowest level on...

Discretionary Spending Would Fall as Percent of Economy Even With Bipartisan Budget Act
July 17, 2019

Policymakers should reach agreement on lifting the annual caps on total defense and non-defense funding before they leave for their August recess, so they can complete the appropriations bills in a timely way this fall — without the brinkmanship and uncertainty that can disrupt important government services. Freezing funding at 2019 levels, as some suggest, would shortchange non-defense...

Bills Bar Chart
June 10, 2019

A bill before the House Appropriations Committee would raise funding for IRS tax enforcement and operations support in 2020 — an important, but too modest, step forward after the damaging cuts in IRS enforcement since 2010. Given the depleted state and critical importance of IRS enforcement, lawmakers need to add more.

The U.S. tax system is based on voluntary compliance, which requires...

In Focus: More IRS Enforcement and Operations Support Funds Needed Inside Budget Cap
May 21, 2019

The IRS reported yesterday that it audited fewer millionaires and large corporations in fiscal year 2018 than the previous year, continuing a multi-year decline. Since 2010, the President and Congress have cut IRS funding substantially, causing workforce reductions and shortages of top auditors who have the expertise to review...

Audit Rate for Millionaires Has Dropped Steeply Since 2010
May 16, 2019

The Senate still hasn’t approved emergency disaster relief legislation, keeping more than a million Americans who live in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories without much-needed health and food aid. While negotiations to finalize the Senate’s disaster bill reportedly are making progress, the Senate must...

Puerto Rico
May 10, 2019

Mother’s Day should remind policymakers to help more mothers afford high-quality child care and stable housing for their families. The President and Congress can do that by overriding the deep funding cuts scheduled for 2020 under the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) and making sizable new investments in child care and housing — such as by enacting the...

Family of three generations
May 2, 2019

The House Appropriations subcommittee-approved fiscal 2020 funding bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education includes sensible, well-targeted investments in key areas such as child care and Head Start, job training, K-12 education, Social Security operations, and family planning, after years of disinvestment or underfunding. Even with these increases,...

Budget Process - Money Puzzle Pieces
Sharon Parrott

Senior Vice President for Federal Policy and Program Development

April 29, 2019

Members of Congress have proposed almost a dozen constitutional amendments this year requiring a balanced budget, all of which share serious drawbacks. Rep. Ben McAdams introduced the latest balanced budget amendment (BBA), H.J. Res. 55, and it shows both that BBAs are fundamentally flawed and that attempts to fix them invariably don’t succeed at doing that.

That’s true mainly for five...

Cover of 2020 Budget Book
April 12, 2019

As people rush to file their income tax returns by Tax Day (April 15), a few reminders: First, as the Brookings Institution’s Vanessa Williamson explained: “Residents of the United States are unusually likely [compared to other countries] to see chipping in their share as a civic duty, a...

Most of Budget Goes Toward Defense, Social Security, and Major Health Programs