Budget Options

Reports on Budget Options

To help inform lawmakers about the budgetary implications of various approaches to altering federal policies, CBO periodically issues a volume of policy options (called Options for Reducing the Deficit) covering a broad range of issues as well as separate reports that include options for changing federal tax and spending policies in particular areas. The options, which are accessible from this page, are derived from many sources and reflect a range of possibilities. For each option, CBO presents an estimate of its effects on the budget but makes no recommendations. Inclusion or exclusion of any particular option does not imply an endorsement or rejection by CBO. This search is updated regularly to include only the most recent version of a particular option.

Title Latest Estimate 10-Year Savings (Billions)
Use an Alternative Measure of Inflation to Index Social Security and Other Mandatory Programs $202
Increase the Excise Tax on Tobacco Products by 50 Percent $42
Increase Federal Civilian Employees’ Contributions to the Federal Employees Retirement System $45
Cancel Development and Production of the New Missile in the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent Program $24
Eliminate or Reduce the Add-On to Pell Grants, Which Is Funded With Mandatory Spending $31, $62
Reduce the Size of the Federal Workforce Through Attrition $35
Modify Payments to Medicare Advantage Plans for Health Risk $47, $67
Tax Social Security and Railroad Retirement Benefits in the Same Way That Distributions From Defined Benefit Pensions Are Taxed $411
Eliminate Eligibility for Starting Social Security Disability Benefits at Age 62 or Later $20
Repeal Certain Tax Preferences for Energy and Natural Resource–Based Industries $2, $6, $8
Modify TRICARE Enrollment Fees and Cost Sharing for Working-Age Military Retirees $11
Limit Enrollment in the Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Programs $3, $7, $10
Tighten Eligibility for Pell Grants $3, $9, $86
Change the Cost-Sharing Rules for Medicare and Restrict Medigap Insurance $44, $72, $116
Tax Carried Interest as Ordinary Income $14
Eliminate Supplemental Security Income Benefits for Disabled Children $100
Increase the Maximum Taxable Earnings for the Social Security Payroll Tax $785, $1223
Stop Building Ford Class Aircraft Carriers $10
Impose a Fee on Large Financial Institutions $90, $103
Eliminate the Special Retirement Supplement for New Federal Retirees $5
Limit Highway and Transit Funding to Expected Revenues $116
Establish Caps on Federal Spending for Medicaid $162, $255, $305, $324, $438, $464, $496, $703
Curtail the Deduction for Charitable Giving $146, $176
Reduce the Department of Defense’s Budget $248, $517
Increase Excise Taxes on Motor Fuels and Index for Inflation $237, $515
Increase Appropriations for the Internal Revenue Service’s Enforcement Initiatives $35
Reduce Funding for International Affairs Programs $116
Limit Forgiveness of Graduate Student Loans $12, $18, $32
Reduce Funding for Certain Grants to State and Local Governments $1, $6, $11, $14, $42
Reduce Quality Bonus Payments to Medicare Advantage Plans $18, $94
Eliminate Certain Tax Preferences for Education Expenses $188
Narrow Eligibility for Veterans’ Disability Compensation by Excluding Certain Disabilities Unrelated to Military Duties $4, $33
Repeal the “LIFO” and “Lower of Cost or Market” Inventory Accounting Methods $58
Reduce the Size of the Bomber Force by Retiring the B-1B $17
Eliminate Title I Agriculture Programs $20
Increase Payments by Tenants in Federally Assisted Housing $21
Increase Premiums for Parts B and D of Medicare $40, $389, $418
Include Disability Payments From the Department of Veterans Affairs in Taxable Income $4, $93
Link Initial Social Security Benefits to Average Prices Instead of Average Earnings $77, $121
Expand Social Security Coverage to Include Newly Hired State and Local Government Employees $80
Reduce Funding for Naval Ship Construction to Historical Levels  $50
Impose a Tax on Financial Transactions $777
Eliminate Certain Forest Service Programs $6
Eliminate the Federal Transit Administration $87
Limit States’ Taxes on Health Care Providers $15, $108, $344
Eliminate Itemized Deductions $1312
Reduce DoD’s Operation and Maintenance Appropriation (Excluding Funding for the Defense Health Program)  $70, $195
Impose an Excise Tax on Overland Freight Transport $358
Divest Two Agencies of Their Electric Transmission Assets $2
Reduce Appropriations for Global Health to Their Level in 2000 $57
Reduce or Eliminate Subsidized Loans for Undergraduate Students $7, $22
Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act $12
Consolidate and Reduce Federal Payments for Graduate Medical Education at Teaching Hospitals $34, $40
Lower the Investment Income Limit for the Earned Income Tax Credit and Extend That Limit to the Refundable Portion of the Child Tax Credit $8
End VA’s Individual Unemployability Payments to Disabled Veterans at the Full Retirement Age for Social Security $7, $48
Require Half of Advertising Expenses to Be Amortized Over 5 or 10 Years $63, $132
Reduce the Size of the Fighter Force by Retiring the F-22 $27
Reduce Subsidies in the Crop Insurance Program $4, $17, $21
Reduce Funding for the Housing Choice Voucher Program or Eliminate the Program $9, $125
Raise the Age of Eligibility for Medicare to 67 $15, $22
Include Employer-Paid Premiums for Income Replacement Insurance in Employees’ Taxable Income $342
Make Social Security’s Benefit Structure More Progressive $7, $36
Tax All Pass-Through Business Owners Under SECA and Impose a Material Participation Standard $163
Reduce the Size of the Nuclear Triad $8, $9
Limit the Number of Cities Receiving Urban Areas Security Initiative Grants $1
Increase the Passenger Fee for Aviation Security $21
Reduce Federal Medicaid Matching Rates $55, $345, $394
Change the Tax Treatment of Capital Gains From Sales of Inherited Assets $105
Require Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit Claimants to Have a Social Security Number That Is Valid for Employment $24
Cap Increases in Basic Pay for Military Service Members $18
Impose Fees to Cover the Costs of Government Regulations and Charge for Services Provided to the Private Sector $0, $1, $2, $9, $14
Change the National Flood Insurance Program $1
Eliminate Human Space Exploration Programs $89
Reduce or Eliminate Public Service Loan Forgiveness $9, $22
Increase Individual Income Tax Rates $123, $905
Convert Multiple Assistance Programs for Lower-Income People Into Smaller Block Grants to States $88, $160, $247
Reduce VA’s Disability Benefits to Veterans Who Are Older Than the Full Retirement Age for Social Security $11
Repeal the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit $49
Cancel the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System $18
Limit ARC and PLC Payment Acres to 30 Percent of Base Acres $10
End Enrollment in VA Medical Care for Veterans in Priority Groups 7 and 8 $57
Reduce Medicare’s Coverage of Bad Debt $12, $24, $39
Reduce Tax Subsidies for Employment-Based Health Insurance $256, $438, $638
Raise the Full Retirement Age for Social Security $28
Increase Taxes That Finance the Federal Share of the Unemployment Insurance System $18
Cancel the Long-Range Standoff Weapon $11
Eliminate the International Trade Administration's Trade-Promotion Activities $3
Eliminate Federal Funding for National Community Service  $9
Introduce Enrollment Fees Under TRICARE for Life $12
Eliminate the Tax Exemption for New Qualified Private Activity Bonds $32
Increase the Payroll Tax Rate for Medicare Hospital Insurance  $898, $1787
Replace Some Military Personnel With Civilian Employees $14
Impose a 5 Percent Value-Added Tax $1920, $2330, $2970
Tighten Eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program $8
Reduce Department of Energy Funding for Energy Technology Development $3, $5, $8, $16
Remove the Cap on Interest Rates for Student Loans $11, $16
Raise the Tax Rates on Long-Term Capital Gains and Qualified Dividends by 2 Percentage Points and Adjust Tax Brackets $70, $76, $81
Eliminate Subsidies for Certain Meals in the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, and Child and Adult Care Food Programs $11
Narrow Eligibility for VA’s Disability Compensation by Excluding Veterans With Low Disability Ratings $6, $38
Increase All Taxes on Alcoholic Beverages to $16 per Proof Gallon and Index for Inflation $68, $83
Tax Gains from Derivatives as Ordinary Income on a Mark-to-Market Basis $19
Reduce the Basic Allowance for Housing to 80 Percent of Average Housing Costs $15
Raise Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Guarantee Fees and Decrease their Eligible Loan Limits $3, $12
Reduce the Annual Across-the-Board Adjustment for Federal Civilian Employees’ Pay $58
Require Manufacturers to Pay a Minimum Rebate on Drugs Covered Under Part D of Medicare for Low-Income Beneficiaries $154
Further Limit Annual Contributions to Retirement Plans $103
Require Social Security Disability Insurance Applicants to Have Worked More in Recent Years $50
Increase the Corporate Income Tax Rate by 1 Percentage Point $96
Defer Development of the B-21 Bomber $32
Convert the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Program Into a Direct Loan Program $3
Eliminate Head Start $92
Introduce Minimum Out-of-Pocket Requirements Under TRICARE for Life $27
Expand the Base of the Net Investment Income Tax to Include the Income of Active Participants in S Corporations and Limited Partnerships $199
Increase the Payroll Tax Rate for Social Security $716, $1422
Cancel Plans to Purchase Additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and Instead Purchase F-16s and F/A-18s $13
Impose a Tax on Emissions of Greenhouse Gases $1099
Reduce Pension Benefits for New Federal Retirees $3
Eliminate Funding for Amtrak and the Essential Air Service Program $2, $20
Adopt a Voucher Plan and Slow the Growth of Federal Contributions for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program $35, $37
Eliminate or Modify Head-of-Household Filing Status  $66, $165
Reduce TANF’s State Family Assistance Grant by 10 Percent $13
Adjust DoD’s and DOE’s Plans for Modernizing Nuclear Forces
Convert Medicare to a Premium Support System
Change FHA’s Exposure to Risk From Single-Family Mortgage Guarantees
Change Federal Civilian Employees’ Contributions to the Federal Employees Retirement System $-79, $-58, $-32, $3, $47
End Congressional Direction of Medical Research in the Department of Defense $9
Scanning and Imaging More Shipping Containers Bound for or Arriving at U.S. Ports
Reduce the Number of Ballistic Missile Submarines $15
Eliminate Grants to Large and Medium-Sized Airports $8
Eliminate Capital Investment Grants for Transit Systems $15
Reduce Federal Funding for the Arts and Humanities $6
Eliminate Exchange Subsidies for People With Income Over 300 Percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines $109
Restrict Pell Grants to Students Who Meet Academic Progress Requirements $2
Restrict Pell Grants to Students Who Meet More Stringent Academic Eligibility Requirements $3
Consolidate the Department of Defense's Retail Activities and Provide a Grocery Allowance to Service Members $8