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)
Reduce Funding for International Affairs Programs $117
Reduce or Eliminate Public Service Loan Forgiveness $12, $28
Increase the Payroll Tax Rate for Social Security $712, $1406
Make Social Security’s Benefit Structure More Progressive $8, $36
Include Disability Payments From the Department of Veterans Affairs in Taxable Income $113
Cancel the Long-Range Standoff Weapon $11
Limit ARC and PLC Payment Acres to 30 Percent of Base Acres $21
Require Manufacturers to Pay a Minimum Rebate on Drugs Covered Under Part D of Medicare for Low-Income Beneficiaries $148
Impose a 5 Percent Value-Added Tax $1820, $2220, $2830
Eliminate Itemized Deductions $1718
Cap Increases in Basic Pay for Military Service Members $19
Reduce Funding for Certain Grants to State and Local Governments $1, $5, $9, $12, $18, $40
Introduce Enrollment Fees Under TRICARE for Life $14
Repeal the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit $44
Narrow Eligibility for VA’s Disability Compensation by Excluding Veterans With Low Disability Ratings $6, $38
Eliminate Funding for Amtrak and the Essential Air Service Program $2, $20
Remove the Cap on Interest Rates for Student Loans $3, $5
Increase the Maximum Taxable Earnings for the Social Security Payroll Tax $647, $1024
Raise the Full Retirement Age for Social Security $72
Further Limit Annual Contributions to Retirement Plans $99
Defer Development of the B-21 Bomber $36
Raise Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Guarantee Fees and Decrease Their Eligible Loan Limits $10, $30, $36
Eliminate Certain Tax Preferences for Education Expenses $153
Consolidate and Reduce Federal Payments for Graduate Medical Education at Teaching Hospitals $34, $40
Impose a Tax on Emissions of Greenhouse Gases $1033
Limit the Deduction for Charitable Giving $208, $232
Replace Some Military Personnel With Civilian Employees $14
Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act $11
Introduce Minimum Out-of-Pocket Requirements Under TRICARE for Life $27
Increase All Taxes on Alcoholic Beverages to $16 per Proof Gallon and Index for Inflation $83, $96
Use an Alternative Measure of Inflation to Index Social Security and Other Mandatory Programs $223
Eliminate Federal Funding for National Community Service $9
Adopt a Voucher Plan and Slow the Growth of Federal Contributions for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program $21, $24
Expand Social Security Coverage to Include Newly Hired State and Local Government Employees $101
Require Social Security Disability Insurance Applicants to Have Worked More in Recent Years $47
Tax Social Security and Railroad Retirement Benefits in the Same Way That Distributions From Defined Benefit Pensions Are Taxed $459
Reduce the Size of the Bomber Force by Retiring the B-1B $13
Eliminate or Reduce the Add-On to Pell Grants, Which Is Funded With Mandatory Spending $29, $57
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
Eliminate Subsidies for Certain Meals in the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, and Child and Adult Care Food Programs $9
Impose a Tax on Financial Transactions $752
Change the Tax Treatment of Capital Gains From Sales of Inherited Assets $110
Stop Building Ford Class Aircraft Carriers $3
Limit Enrollment in the Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Programs $3, $5, $8
Change the Cost-Sharing Rules for Medicare and Restrict Medigap Insurance $33, $60, $92
Increase Excise Taxes on Tobacco Products $37
Increase Individual Income Tax Rates $114, $203, $884
Eliminate Head Start $95
Establish Caps on Federal Spending for Medicaid $353, $472, $485, $561, $636, $683, $787, $959
Increase the Corporate Income Tax Rate by 1 Percentage Point $99
Eliminate Eligibility for Starting Social Security Disability Benefits at Age 62 or Later $21
Reduce the Size of the Fighter Force by Retiring the F-22 $33
Limit Forgiveness of Graduate Student Loans $6, $15, $27
Require Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit Claimants to Have a Social Security Number That Is Valid for Employment $21
Eliminate Supplemental Security Income Benefits for Disabled Children $103
Increase Federal Civilian Employees’ Contributions to the Federal Employees Retirement System $43
Eliminate the Tax Exemption for New Qualified Private Activity Bonds $15
Reduce Funding for Naval Ship Construction to Historical Levels  $51
Eliminate Title I Agriculture Programs $39
Increase Premiums for Parts B and D of Medicare $39, $435, $462
Increase Excise Taxes on Motor Fuels and Index for Inflation $237, $512
Raise the Tax Rates on Long-Term Capital Gains and Qualified Dividends by 2 Percentage Points $75
Tighten Eligibility for Pell Grants $4, $64
Limit States’ Taxes on Health Care Providers $32, $176, $429
Repeal the “LIFO” Approach to Inventory Identification and the “Lower of Cost or Market” and “Subnormal Goods” Methods of Inventory Valuation $60
End VA’s Individual Unemployability Payments to Disabled Veterans at the Full Retirement Age for Social Security $8, $40
Reduce the Department of Defense’s Budget $317, $607
Reduce the Basic Allowance for Housing to 80 Percent of Average Housing Costs $15
Reduce or Eliminate Subsidized Loans for Undergraduate Students $7, $19
Increase the Payroll Tax Rate for Medicare Hospital Insurance $878, $1736
Link Initial Social Security Benefits to Average Prices Instead of Average Earnings $69, $109
Increase Appropriations for the Internal Revenue Service’s Enforcement Initiatives $41
Expand the Base of the Net Investment Income Tax to Include the Income of Active Participants in S Corporations and Limited Partnerships $210
Reduce the Size of the Nuclear Triad $10, $12
Reduce Subsidies in the Crop Insurance Program $29
Reduce Medicare’s Coverage of Bad Debt $21, $43, $69
Impose an Excise Tax on Overland Freight Transport $351
Eliminate or Modify Head-of-Household Filing Status  $62, $158
Reduce the Annual Across-the-Board Adjustment for Federal Civilian Employees' Pay $59
Reduce Federal Medicaid Matching Rates $57, $500, $529
Require Half of Advertising Expenses to Be Amortized Over 5 or 10 Years $66, $133
Reduce VA’s Disability Benefits to Veterans Who Are Older Than the Full Retirement Age for Social Security $25
Reduce DoD’s Operation and Maintenance Appropriation (Excluding Funding for the Defense Health Program)  $60, $168
Change the Availability of Income-Driven Repayment Plans $-34, $23, $122
Change How Borrowers’ Income-Driven Payments Are Calculated $-6, $-4, $6, $35, $40, $42
Reduce Appropriations for Global Health to Their Level in 2000 $57
Repeal Certain Tax Preferences for Energy and Natural Resource–Based Industries $2, $6, $8
Narrow Eligibility for Veterans’ Disability Compensation by Excluding Certain Disabilities Unrelated to Military Duties $4, $33
Tax Carried Interest as Ordinary Income $14
Limit the Number of Cities Receiving Urban Areas Security Initiative Grants $1
Raise the Age of Eligibility for Medicare to 67 $15, $22
Increase Payments by Tenants in Federally Assisted Housing $21
Change the National Flood Insurance Program $1
Eliminate Human Space Exploration Programs $89
Repeal the “LIFO” and “Lower of Cost or Market” Inventory Accounting Methods $58
Cancel Plans to Purchase Additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and Instead Purchase F-16s and F/A-18s $13
Include Employer-Paid Premiums for Income Replacement Insurance in Employees’ Taxable Income $342
Eliminate the International Trade Administration's Trade-Promotion Activities $3
Modify Payments to Medicare Advantage Plans for Health Risk $47, $67
Reduce Funding for the Housing Choice Voucher Program or Eliminate the Program $9, $125
Tighten Eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program $8
Reduce Department of Energy Funding for Energy Technology Development $3, $5, $8, $16
Impose Fees to Cover the Costs of Government Regulations and Charge for Services Provided to the Private Sector $0, $1, $2, $9, $14
Modify TRICARE Enrollment Fees and Cost Sharing for Working-Age Military Retirees $11
Reduce Tax Subsidies for Employment-Based Health Insurance $256, $438, $638
Convert the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Program Into a Direct Loan Program $3
Reduce Quality Bonus Payments to Medicare Advantage Plans $18, $94
End Enrollment in VA Medical Care for Veterans in Priority Groups 7 and 8 $57
Reduce Pension Benefits for New Federal Retirees $3
Limit Highway and Transit Funding to Expected Revenues $116
Impose a Fee on Large Financial Institutions $90, $103
Cancel the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System $18
Tax All Pass-Through Business Owners Under SECA and Impose a Material Participation Standard $163
Convert Multiple Assistance Programs for Lower-Income People Into Smaller Block Grants to States $88, $160, $247
Reduce the Size of the Federal Workforce Through Attrition $35
Eliminate the Special Retirement Supplement for New Federal Retirees $5
Eliminate the Federal Transit Administration $87
Tax Gains from Derivatives as Ordinary Income on a Mark-to-Market Basis $19
Cancel Development and Production of the New Missile in the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent Program $24
Increase Taxes That Finance the Federal Share of the Unemployment Insurance System $18
Reduce TANF’s State Family Assistance Grant by 10 Percent $13
Raise the Tax Rates on Long-Term Capital Gains and Qualified Dividends by 2 Percentage Points and Adjust Tax Brackets $70, $76, $81
Eliminate Certain Forest Service Programs $6
Increase the Passenger Fee for Aviation Security $21
Divest Two Agencies of Their Electric Transmission Assets $2
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 More Stringent Academic Eligibility Requirements $3
Restrict Pell Grants to Students Who Meet Academic Progress Requirements $2
Consolidate the Department of Defense's Retail Activities and Provide a Grocery Allowance to Service Members $8