By Brianna Ehley December 6, 2013 4:45 AM
The clock is ticking on the Congressional Budget Conference Committee, which only has eight days left to cobble together a budget before the Dec. 13 deadline. And though lawmakers have signaled that they are close to a deal, nothing is certain.
Budgeteers in both parties are aiming for a deal that cancels the second wave of sequester cuts authorized under the Budget Control Act of 2011. To undo those cuts, they’ll have to find savings in other areas. Some potential elements in the emerging deal include raising federal employees’ contributions to their pension funds, or having the Federal Communications Commission auction rights to electromagnetic spectrum, according to congressional aides.
Related: Enter New Budget Deal, Exit Loathsome Sequester
As difficult as it may be for Republicans and Democrats to agree on a narrow package to replace the sequester cuts, much more difficult choices lay ahead. As the Congressional Budget Office put it in a report released last month: “To put the federal budget on a sustainable long-term path, lawmakers would need to make significant policy changes—allowing revenues to rise more than would occur under current law, reducing spending for large benefit programs to amounts below those currently projected, or adopting some combination of those approaches.” Continue reading “Federal Budget: 10 Cuts That Would Save the Most”
Congressional Budget Office
The Budget Control Act of 2011 (enacted on August 2 as Public Law 112-25) made several changes to federal programs and established budget enforcement mechanisms—including caps on future discretionary appropriations—that were estimated to reduce federal budget deficits by a total of at least $2.1 trillion over the 2012–2021 period. The caps on discretionary appropriations will decrease spending (including debt-service costs) by an estimated $0.9 trillion during that period, compared with what such spending would have been if annual appropriations had grown at the rate of inflation. At least another $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction was anticipated from provisions related to a newly established Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. That committee is charged with proposing legislation to trim budget deficits by at least $1.5 trillion between 2012 and 2021. However, if legislation originating from the committee and estimated to produce at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction (including an allowance for interest savings) is not enacted by January 15, 2012, automatic procedures for cutting both discretionary and mandatory spending will take effect. The magnitude of those cuts would depend on any shortfall in the estimated effects of such legislation relative to the $1.2 trillion amount. Continue reading “Estimated Impact of Automatic Budget Enforcement Procedures Specified in the Budget Control Act”