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Roundup: Funding Priorities in Wake of Bipartisan Budget Deal

February 20, 2018 at 11:30 AM
BY
CBPP

Below are CBPP’s blog posts on some of the areas that policymakers should prioritize for the extra funding that the recent increase in non-defense discretionary funding will provide this year and next.

  • After Budget Deal, Policymakers Should Boost 2018 Funding for the 2020 Census. With President Trump and Congress boosting overall non-defense discretionary funding for 2018 and 2019, they now must use some of these funds for the fast-approaching 2020 census. The President’s latest request for 2018 funding for the census moves in the right direction but remains below what outside experts believe is needed to ensure an accurate census count, and it omits funds for contingencies that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has recommended. The President's 2019 request also falls well below what the Commerce Department projects is needed. . . .
  • IRS Must Now Be a Top Funding Priority. Now that President Trump and congressional leaders have raised annual spending caps for defense and non-defense discretionary programs for 2018 and 2019, policymakers should make additional Internal Revenue Service (IRS) funding a top priority. The recent tax bill poses a once-in-a-generation, multi-dimensional challenge for the IRS, and the President and Congress must give the IRS the funds to implement it successfully. . . .
  • Budget Agreement Funding Could Reduce Social Security Disability Backlog. The bipartisan agreement to raise the caps on discretionary spending in 2018 and 2019 reportedly calls for higher funding for the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) operating budget, which is starved for resources after years of cuts, to improve customer service. SSA’s budget shrank by 11 percent between 2010 and 2017, after adjusting for inflation — even as SSA’s workload grew as baby boomers reached their peak years for retirement and disability. When lawmakers write agency funding bills based on the agreement, they need to fulfill their commitment and provide SSA with a significant increase to undo the damage from those cuts. . . .
  • Budget Deal Gives Policymakers Another Chance to Fund Social Security Technology Improvements. Now that Congress has agreed to raise the caps on discretionary spending in 2018 and 2019, policymakers have another chance to adequately fund technology upgrades that would improve the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) payment accuracy and prevent fraud. The 2015 Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) required SSA to make some of these improvements, but it didn’t provide the agency with all of the necessary funding to make the technology upgrades that would bring about these improvements. In addition, policymakers have cut SSA’s budget in recent years even as demands on the agency have reached record highs. . . .
  • Non-Defense Discretionary Funding Increases Under Bipartisan Deal Yet Remains Below Earlier Levels. The budget deal from House and Senate leaders would substantially boost overall non-defense appropriations that fund such key national needs as education, job training, and infrastructure. Such funding would, however, remain below its level of eight years ago in inflation-adjusted terms — a sign of how much this part of the budget has been squeezed in recent years. . . .
  • Strengthening Federal Rental Aid Should Be 2018 Budget Priority. Lawmakers are continuing to negotiate a two-year deal to raise federal spending caps, setting the stage for 2018 funding legislation that would include the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In such legislation, Congress should include the funds to strengthen HUD’s rental assistance programs that help seniors, people with disabilities, and families with kids afford decent, stable homes, which are essential for healthy and productive lives. . . .
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