Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
Budget Process_Books

Recurring Reports

Below are the recurring reports we've published since 2009. These papers summarize and analyze the most important regular federal budget releases and reports.

Analysis of CBO's Budget and Economic Outlook

The Congressional Budget Office's Budget and Economic Outlook projects trends for spending and revenue for the next 10-years. All legislation is estimated as to how it would change these projections.

June 2017 | Jan 2017 | Aug 2016 | March 2016 | Jan 2016 | Aug 2015 | March 2015 | Jan 2015 | Aug 2014 | April 2014 | Feb 2014 | May 2013 | Feb 2013 | Aug 2012 | March 2012 | Jan 2012 | Aug 2011 | Jan 2011 | Aug 2010 | Jan 2010

CBO's Long-Term Budget Outlook

The Congressional Budget Office takes a longer view, focusing on budget trends over the next 25 or 75 years.

March 2017 | July 2016 | June 2015 | July 2014 | Sept 2013 | June 2012 | June 2011 | July 2010 | June 2009

Social Security Trustees Report

The Social Security Trustees release an annual report on the health of the Social Security system.

July 2017 | June 2016 | July 2015 | July 2014 | May 2013 | April 2012 | May 2011 | Aug 2010 | May 2009

Analysis of the President's Budget

Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 | FY 2017 | FY 2016 | FY 2015 | FY 2014 | FY 2013 | FY 2012 | FY 2011 | FY 2010

CBO Analysis of the President's Budget

Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 | FY 2017 | FY 2016 | FY 2015 | FY 2014 | FY 2013 | FY 2012 | FY 2011 | FY 2010

 

 

Other Helpful Items

Appropriations 101

Appropriations are annual decisions made by Congress about how the federal government spends some of its money. In general, the appropriations process addresses the discretionary portion of the budget – spending ranging from national defense to food safety to education to federal employee salaries, but excludes mandatory spending, such as Medicare and Social Security, which is spent automatically according to formulas.

Reconciliation 101

Reconciliation is a special legislative process created as part of the Budget Act of 1974. It is intended to help lawmakers make the tax and mandatory spending changes necessary to meet the levels proposed in the congressional budget resolution. Our 101 provides the answers to questions such as "how do reconciliation instructions work?" or "what is the Byrd rule?" as well as explaining the implications of using reconciliation for Obamacare repeal or tax reform.

Everything You Need to Know About Budget Gimmicks, in 8 Charts

Congressional Budget Office reports show that our debt remains on an unsustainable path, (see our ongoing blog series) and is projected to be $1.7 trillion higher by 2024 than we previously thought. Despite the dismal fiscal picture, Congress may be considering measures to worsen the deficit, and covering their tracks with so-called "budget gimmicks." We released a chartbook, "Avoiding Budget Gimmicks," which explains and illustrates several of the tricks and slights of hand that policymakers may use to avoid identifying genuine offsets and payfors.

Understanding the Sequester

“The sequester” is an across-the-board spending cut designed in 2011 to force the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (“Supercommittee”) to agree on a broad deficit reduction package. Upon the failure of the Supercommittee, the sequester set into motion $109 billion of annual spending cuts each year from Fiscal Year 2013 (FY2013) through FY2021. The sequester cuts began in March of 2013 after being delayed two months by the fiscal cliff legislation (and having the FY2013 cut lessened by $24 billion).

The Tax Break-Down

The Tax Break-Down, which analyzes and review tax breaks under discussion as part of tax reform.

Q&A: Everything You Need to Know About a Budget Conference

This year, Congress made it a priority to pass a concurrent budget resolution. Both the House of Representatives and Senate passed their own budget plans at the end of March, and now they must work through the differences in the two budgets through a budget conference committee. This week, both chambers began the process and appointed conferees to serve on the committee. Below, we explain how this budget conference will work, and what it intends to accomplish.

Q&A: Everything You Should Know About the Conference Committee

As part of the bipartisan deal to end the government shutdown and avoid default, a budget conference was established. The purpose of this conference is to reconcile the House and Senate budget resolutions passed earlier this year, and optimally reach an agreement on government funding levels and how to set the country on a fiscally sustainable long-term path.

Q&A: Everything You Need to Know About the National Debt

Currently, the national debt held by the public is nearly $15 trillion, which is around 77 percent of the country’s economy, as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The gross debt, which includes money owed to other parts of the federal government, is about $20 trillion, or roughly 105 percent of GDP. Throughout history, the United States has normally maintained some amount of debt. However, with the exception of a brief period during and immediately after World War II, debt levels have never been as high as they are now. Without congressional action, debt levels will continue increasing.

Q&A: Gross Debt Versus Debt Held by the Public 

On September 8, 2017, the federal government's gross debt exceeded $20 trillion for the first time. This mark serves as an important reminder of the nation's unsustainable rising national debt. At the same time, the nominal amount of gross debt is just one of a few measures of debt and is actually considered less economically meaningful than some other measures such as debt held by the public as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This explainer will lay out everything you need to know about the different measures of debt and what they mean for the government's fiscal situation.

Q&A: Everything You Should Know About Government Shutdowns

It’s déjà vu all over again, again – Congress seems to be ignoring the gathering fiscal storm clouds. The most immediate of these is just around the corner: if lawmakers do not pass legislation to fund federal programs by September 30, the government will shut down.

Q&A: Everything You Should Know About the Debt Ceiling

Attention is turning towards raising the federal debt ceiling, which will be reinstated on March 16, 2017 as the debt approaches $20 trillion. At that time, the Treasury Department will begin using accounting tools at their disposal, called “extraordinary measures,” to avoid defaulting on the government’s obligations. However, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that these measures will be exhausted by this fall, and the debt ceiling will need to be raised. If not, Treasury will be unable to continue paying the nation’s bills. The following is a short primer on the debt ceiling and on the ways to responsibly address it while also dealing with unsustainable federal borrowing going forward.

Understanding the Debt Limit

While failing to increase the debt ceiling would be dangerous and self-defeating, it would also be a mistake not to use this opportunity to address the country’s mounting debt burden. To that end, President Obama and leaders of both chambers of Congress engaged in high-level negotiations in the hopes of agreeing on a deficit reduction package to attach to any debt ceiling increase.