CBO – Options for Reducing the Deficit: Mandatory Spending

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Options for Reducing the Deficit: Mandatory Spending

posted by Sheila Dacey on December 6, 2013

CBO recently published a report on Options for Reducing the Deficit: 2014 to 2023. That report is now available in a fully digital version, so users can search the options according to major budget category, budget function, and major program category. The report included 23 options for changing mandatory spending programs (apart from options primarily involving health); they are listed at the bottom of this post with estimates of their budgetary savings.

Trends in Mandatory Spending

Mandatory spending—which totaled about $2.0 trillion in 2013, or about 60 percent of federal outlays, CBO estimates—consists of all spending (other than interest on federal debt) that is not subject to annual appropriations. Lawmakers generally determine spending for mandatory programs by setting the programs’ parameters, such as eligibility rules and benefit formulas, rather than by appropriating specific amounts each year. Mandatory spending is net of offsetting receipts—certain fees and other charges that are recorded as negative budget authority and outlays. Continue reading “CBO – Options for Reducing the Deficit: Mandatory Spending”