CBO Releases Updated Budget Options Report

We may have had to wait a little longer due to the government shutdown, but CBO's new budget options report is finally here. Today, CBO released its updated Revenue and Spending Options report, containing over 100 policy options and new budgetary scores for the current ten-year window. Each option is covered in great detail with not only a full description of each and background information on how the policy fits into the budget, but also arguments for and against its implementation, how the change could affect beneficiaries, and other detailed analysis.

It had been two years since CBO's previous options report, and the report is particularly timely given budget conferees that are negotiating a potential budget agreement (their second meeting happening earlier today). Members on relevant Congressional committees may also find this useful in fulfilling savings targets they receive in any reconciliation instructions from a budget resolution.

Of course, with so many options, below we have highlighted four in each budget category to help illustrate the many savings options available for lawmakers to consider. However, the report itself is well worth a read and is a gold mine of information for anyone interested in the budget.

For more options, read the full report here.

Policy Option
5-Year (billions)
10-Year (billions)
Other Mandatory
Eliminate Direct Payments to Farmers $10 $25
Reduce Subsidies to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac $14 $19
Eliminate In-School Interest Subsidy for Student Loans $17 $41
Increase Federal Insurance Premiums for Private Pension Plans $3 $5
Health Care
Change the Cost-Sharing Rules for Medicare and Restrict Medigap Insurance $42 $114
Bundle Medicare Payments to Health Care Providers for Inpatient Care and 90 Days of Post-Acute Care $4 $47
Introduce Minimum Out-of-Pocket Requirements Under TRICARE for Life $11 $31
Limit Medical Malpractice Torts $19 $66
Social Security
Link the Growth Initial Social Security Benefits to Average Prices Instead of Average Earnings $3 $93
Raise the Full Retirement Age for Social Security to 70 by 2038 $5 $58
Eliminate Eligibility for Starting Social Security Disability Benefits at Age 62 or Later $2 $11
Require Social Security Disability Insurance Applicants to Have Worked at Least Four of the Past Six Years $6 $35
Replace the Joint Strike Fighter Program With F-16s and F/A-18s $12 $37
Cancel the Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle Program $2 $11
Increase Fees for Aviation Security to a Flat $5 Fee Per Flight $4 $11
Eliminate Subsidies for Amtrak $6 $15
Tax Expenditures
Convert the Mortgage Interest Deduction to a 15 Percent Tax Credit After 2019 $8 $52
Eliminate the Deduction for State and Local Taxes $383 $954
Limit the Deduction for Charitable Giving to Contributions in Excess of 2 Percent of AGI $84 $212
Eliminate the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit  $95 $155
Additional Revenue
Increase Excise Taxes on Motor Fuels by 35 Cents and Index for Inflation $207 $452
Increase All Taxes on Alcoholic Beverages to $16 per Proof Gallon $30 $64
Impose a 0.01 Percent Tax on Financial Transactions $68 $180
Impose a $25 Per Metric Ton Tax on CO2 Emissions  $471 $1,060
Chained CPI
Apply Chained CPI to the Tax Code Starting in 2014 $30 $140
Apply Chained CPI to Social Security Starting in 2015 $21 $108
Apply Chained CPI  to Other Mandatory Spending Programs Starting in 2015 $11 $54