Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013

Cost Estimate
December 11, 2013

As posted on the website of the House Committee on Rules on December 10, 2013

The legislation, offered as an amendment to H.J. Res. 59, the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014, would revise the limits on discretionary appropriations for fiscal years 2014 and 2015, allowing for higher levels of funding in those years than is allowed under the caps and budget enforcement procedures in current law. CBO estimates that, if appropriations for 2014 and 2015 equaled the revised limits, discretionary outlays would be roughly $62 billion higher over the 2014-2023 period than if appropriations for those years equaled the limits in current law. (Nearly $48 billion of the anticipated increase in discretionary outlays would occur in 2014 and 2015.)

The legislation also would make several changes in programs that are not funded through annual appropriations, as well as a few changes that would affect federal revenues. In addition, the bill would extend across-the-board cuts (known as sequestration) in certain direct spending programs for an additional two years—2022 and 2023— beyond the period during which sequestration will apply under current law; those additional cuts would be the same percentage of spending required under current law for 2021. CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that, in total, those provisions would reduce direct spending by about $78 billion and increase revenues by about $7 billion over the 2014-2023 period. Thus, the legislation’s changes in direct spending and revenues would reduce deficits by roughly $85 billion over the next 10 years. Some of those changes also would affect discretionary spending, but such changes would be subject to appropriation and limited under the caps on annually appropriated funding.

Although enacting the legislation would affect direct spending and revenues, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply because the legislation specifies that its budgetary effects shall not be entered onto the scorecards maintained under the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010.

The legislation contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). It would impose private-sector mandates as defined in UMRA on airline passengers, sponsors of defined-benefit pension plans, and users of customs services. CBO estimates that the cost of the mandates would total more than $1 billion in fiscal year 2015 and more than $2 billion annually beginning in fiscal year 2016. Thus, the aggregate cost of mandates would significantly exceed the annual threshold established in UMRA for private-sector mandates ($150 million in 2013, adjusted annually for inflation) during the first five years that the mandates are in effect.

Section 204 of the legislation would amend portions of the Social Security Act that relate to the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance programs under title II of the Social Security Act. UMRA excludes from its application any legislation that applies to those provisions of the Social Security Act. Consequently, CBO has not reviewed section 204 for mandates.