S. 540, Temporary Debt Limit Extension Act

Cost Estimate
February 11, 2014


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As posted on the website of the Committee on Rules on February 10, 2014 (Committee Print 113-37)

Upon enactment, S. 540 would suspend the current debt limit through March 15, 2015. On the following day, the debt ceiling would be raised by the amount of obligations incurred up to that point.

The legislation also would extend across-the-board cuts (known as sequestration) in certain direct spending programs for an additional year beyond 2023—the last year for which sequestration will apply under current law. CBO estimates that those provisions would reduce direct spending by about $9.2 billion in fiscal year 2024.

Section 5 would revise section 403 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (Public Law 113-67), as modified by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, which reduced the annual cost-of-living adjustment for annuities paid to certain military retirees and survivors by up to one percent. Section 5 would apply the changes from P.L. 113-67 only to those who first became members of the uniformed services after January 1, 2014, and would increase direct spending by about $6.8 billion over the 2014-2024 period, CBO estimates.

Section 6 would create a fund to be used by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to pay for physicians’ services under Part B of Medicare. CBO estimates that provision would increase direct spending by about $2.4 billion, with that effect falling in fiscal years 2017 and 2018.

On balance, enacting S. 540 would reduce direct spending by a total of $34 million over the 2014-2024 period, by CBO’s estimation.

The legislation would have additional effects after 2024 because the repeal of section 403 of P.L. 113-67 would continue to have costs in all subsequent years. The additional year of sequestration under section 6 would partially offset those costs by yielding several billion dollars of budgetary savings in fiscal year 2025. In combination, those effects would increase direct spending, CBO estimates, by more than $5 billion in at least one of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2024.