Congress Has Cut Discretionary Funding By $1.5 Trillion Over Ten Years
First Stage of Deficit Reduction Is in Law
 The BCA originally established caps on security and nonsecurity discretionary funding through 2013 and aggregate limits on total discretionary funding from 2014 through 2021. One of the automatic consequences of the failure of the “supercommittee” process is that, under another provision of the BCA, these limits now apply to defense and non-defense discretionary funding rather than security and nonsecurity funding, and the sub-caps on the two categories now apply through 2021.
 The Bowles-Simpson report described its discretionary savings relative to the request for discretionary funding in President Obama’s fiscal year 2011 budget, not to the 2010 levels.
 Some descriptions of budget plans considered in 2011, including plans suggested by members of the deficit-reduction “supercommittee,” measured their cuts from CBO’s March 2011 baseline rather than CBO’s August 2010 baseline. The March 2011 baseline is less analytically useful than the August 2010 baseline, however, because it is “neither fish nor fowl.” The 2011 baseline’s level for fiscal year 2011 does not represent the final inflation-adjusted level of funding enacted by the 111th Congress because it omits one year of inflation and incorporates only the first of some funding cuts insisted upon by the 112th Congress. Moreover, it does not represent the final funding levels or priorities of either the 111th Congress or the 112th Congress because it is simply based on a temporary Continuing Resolution left over from the 111th Congress.
 In the absence of statutory caps on future appropriations, CBO and the Office of Management and Budget produce baseline projections of discretionary spending that assume funding in future years will be at the same level as the most recently enacted appropriations levels, adjusted for inflation.
 The statutory caps are enforced by automatic across-the-board cuts (a few discretionary programs are exempted) if Congress enacts funding above the specified caps.
 Moreover, CBO projects an alternative path in which troop levels for the war in Afghanistan would drop to 45,000 by 2015 and remain at that level. That path would reduce projected war funding for 2013-2022 by another $930 billion, for a total “peace dividend” of $1.4 trillion, above and beyond the $1.5 trillion in non-war cuts shown in Table 1.
 Expenditures lag behind funding because federal money often moves slowly from the Office of Management and Budget to federal agencies to federal employees, state and local governments, contractors, or grantees.