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
Change the Reimbursement for Insurers’ Administrative and Operating Costs in the Crop Insurance Program
Reduce Premium Subsidies for Crop Insurance Policies
Reduce the Expected Rate of Return for Insurers in the Crop Insurance Program
Restrict the Ways in Which Producers’ Losses are Calculated in the Crop Insurance Program
Options for Expanding the Transferring of Credit Risk on Mortgages Guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac
Repeal the Individual Health Insurance Mandate
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
Change the Pension Formula in the Federal Employees Retirement System
Replace the Federal Employees Retirement System Pension With Larger Government Contributions to the Thrift Savings Plan for New Employees
Adopt a Voucher Plan and Slow the Growth of Federal Contributions for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program
Build Only One Type of Nuclear Weapon for Bombers
Cancel Plans to Purchase Additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and Instead Purchase F-16s and F/A-18s
Cap Increases in Basic Pay for Military Service Members
Capitalize Research and Experimentation Costs and Amortize Them Over Five Years
Change the Cost-Sharing Rules for Medicare and Restrict Medigap Insurance
Change the Tax Treatment of Capital Gains From Sales of Inherited Assets
Change the Terms and Conditions for Oil and Gas Leasing on Federal Lands
Consolidate and Reduce Federal Payments for Graduate Medical Education at Teaching Hospitals
Convert Multiple Assistance Programs for Lower-Income People Into Smaller Block Grants to States
Convert the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Program From a Guarantee Program to a Direct Loan Program
Convert the Mortgage Interest Deduction to a 15 Percent Tax Credit
Curtail the Deduction for Charitable Giving
Defer Development of the B-21 Bomber
Determine Foreign Tax Credits on a Pooling Basis
Eliminate ARC and PLC Payments on Generic Base Acres
Eliminate Certain Forest Service Programs
Eliminate Certain Tax Preferences for Education Expenses
Eliminate Concurrent Receipt of Retirement Pay and Disability Compensation for Disabled Veterans
Eliminate Eligibility for Starting Social Security Disability Benefits at Age 62 or Later
Eliminate Federal Funding for National Community Service
Eliminate Funding for Amtrak and the Essential Air Service Program
Eliminate Head Start
Eliminate Human Space Exploration Programs
Eliminate or Reduce Funding for Certain Grants to State and Local Governments
Eliminate Subsidies for Certain Meals in the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, and Child and Adult Care Food Programs
Eliminate Supplemental Security Income Benefits for Disabled Children
Eliminate the Add-On to Pell Grants, Which Is Funded With Mandatory Spending
Eliminate the International Trade Administration’s Trade Promotion Activities
Eliminate the Tax Exemptions for New Qualified Private Activity Bonds
Eliminate Title I Agriculture Programs
End Congressional Direction of Medical Research in the Department of Defense
End Enrollment in VA Medical Care for Veterans in Priority Groups 7 and 8
Expand Social Security Coverage to Include Newly Hired State and Local Government Employees
Expand the Base of the Net Investment Income Tax to Include the Income of Active Participants in S Corporations and Limited Partnerships
Extend the Period for Depreciating the Cost of Certain Investments
Further Limit Annual Contributions to Retirement Plans
Further Limit the Deduction of Interest Expense for Multinational Corporations
Implement a New Minimum Tax on Adjusted Gross Income
Impose a 5 Percent Value-Added Tax
Impose a Fee on Large Financial Institutions
Impose a Tax on Emissions of Greenhouse Gases
Impose a Tax on Financial Transactions
Impose an Excise Tax on Overland Freight Transport
Impose Caps on Federal Spending for Medicaid
Impose Fees to Cover the Cost of Government Regulations and Charge for Services Provided to the Private Sector
Include Disability Payments From the Department of Veterans Affairs in Taxable Income
Include Employer-Paid Premiums for Income Replacement Insurance in Employees' Taxable Income
Increase All Taxes on Alcoholic Beverages to $16 Per Proof Gallon
Increase Corporate Income Tax Rates by 1 Percentage Point
Increase Excise Taxes on Motor Fuels by 35 Cents and Index for Inflation
Increase Federal Civilian Employees' Contributions to the Federal Employees Retirement System
Increase Individual Income Tax Rates
Increase Payments by Tenants in Federally Assisted Housing
Increase Premiums for Parts B and D of Medicare
Increase Taxes that Finance the Federal Share of the Unemployment Insurance System
Increase the Excise Tax on Cigarettes by 50 Cents per Pack
Increase the Maximum Taxable Earnings for the Social Security Payroll Tax
Increase the Payroll Tax Rate for Medicare Hospital Insurance by 1 Percentage Point
Introduce Minimum Out-of-Pocket Requirements Under TRICARE for Life
Limit ARC and PLC Payment Acres to 50 Percent of Base Acres
Limit Enrollment in the Department of Agriculture's Conservation Programs
Limit Forgiveness of Graduate Student Loans
Limit Highway Funding to Expected Highway Revenues
Limit Medical Malpractice Claims
Limit States’ Taxes on Health Care Providers
Limit the Deduction for State and Local Taxes
Limit the Value of Itemized Deductions
Link Initial Social Security Benefits to Average Prices Instead of Average Earnings
Lower the Investment Income Limit for the Earned Income Tax Credit and Extend That Limit to the Refundable Portion of the Child Tax Credit
Make Social Security's Benefit Structure More Progressive
Modify TRICARE Enrollment Fees and Cost Sharing for Working-Age Military Retirees
Narrow Eligibility for Veterans’ Disability Compensation by Excluding Certain Disabilities Unrelated to Military Duties
Raise Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Guarantee Fees and Decrease Their Eligible Loan Limits
Raise the Age of Eligibility for Medicare to 67
Raise the Full Retirement Age for Social Security
Raise the Tax Rates on Long-Term Capital Gains and Qualified Dividends by 2 Percentage Points
Reduce Department of Energy Funding for Energy Technology Development
Reduce DoD’s Operation and Maintenance Appropriation, Excluding Funding for the Defense Health Program
Reduce Funding for International Affairs Programs
Reduce Funding for Naval Ship Construction to Historical Levels
Reduce Medicare's Coverage of Bad Debt
Reduce or Eliminate Subsidized Loans for Undergraduate Students
Reduce Pensions in the Federal Employees Retirement System
Reduce Social Security Benefits for New Beneficiaries
Reduce TANF's State Family Assistance Grant by 10 Percent
Reduce Tax Preferences for Employment-Based Health Insurance
Reduce the Annual Across-the-Board Adjustment for Federal Civilian Employees’ Pay
Reduce the Number of Housing Choice Vouchers or Eliminate the Program
Reduce the Size of the Federal Workforce Through Attrition
Reduce the Size of the Military to Satisfy Caps Under the Budget Control Act
Reduce the Size of the Nuclear Triad
Repeal All Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act
Repeal Certain Tax Preferences for Energy and Natural Resource–Based Industries
Repeal the "LIFO" and "Lower of Cost or Market" Inventory Accounting Methods
Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act
Repeal the Deduction for Domestic Production Activities
Repeal the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit
Replace Some Military Personnel With Civilian Employees
Require a Minimum Level of Taxation of Foreign Income as It Is Earned
Require Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit Claimants to Have a Social Security Number That Is Valid for Employment
Require Manufacturers to Pay a Minimum Rebate on Drugs Covered Under Part D of Medicare for Low-Income Beneficiaries
Require Social Security Disability Insurance Applicants to Have Worked More in Recent Years
Restrict Pell Grants to the Neediest Students
Restrict VA’s Individual Unemployability Benefits to Disabled Veterans Who Are Younger Than the Full Retirement Age for Social Security
Stop Building Ford Class Aircraft Carriers
Subject All Publicly Traded Partnerships to the Corporate Income Tax
Tax All Pass-Through Business Owners Under SECA and Impose a Material Participation Standard
Tax Carried Interest as Ordinary Income
Tax Social Security and Railroad Retirement Benefits in the Same Way That Distributions From Defined Benefit Pensions Are Taxed
Tighten Eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Use an Alternative Measure of Inflation to Index Social Security and Other Mandatory Programs
Use an Alternative Measure of Inflation to Index Some Parameters of the Tax Code
Scanning and Imaging More Shipping Containers Bound for or Arriving at U.S. Ports
Increase the Minimum Bid on Parcels Leased for Oil and Gas Development on Onshore Federal Lands
Increase the Royalty Rate for Oil and Gas Production on Onshore Federal Lands
Increase the Royalty Rate for Oil or Gas Production on Offshore Federal Lands When the Price Rises Above a Threshold
Require Nominations of Parcels to Be Leased for Oil and Gas Development on Offshore Federal Lands
Require Sealed Bidding for Auctions of Parcels Leased for Oil and Gas Development on Onshore Federal Lands
Change Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Social Security
Change Social Security Benefits for Specific Groups
Change the Benefit Formula for Social Security
Change the Taxation of Earnings for Social Security
Raise The Full Retirement Age for Social Security
Increase Reimbursement Rates by 10 Cents in the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program
Increase the Income Limit for Free Meals in the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program
Change the Share of Income That Tenants Contribute Toward Rent
Increase Funding for Public Housing Agencies’ Administration of Housing Assistance
Increase the Number of Housing Choice Vouchers
Require That Recipients of Housing Assistance Participate in a Work Support Program and Give Waiting-List Priority to Applicants Who Work
Repealing the Affordable Care Act
Cut Spending on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in 2016 by 15 percent
Increase the State Family Assistance Grant for TANF to Account for Inflation
Eliminate Capital Investment Grants for Transit Systems
Eliminate Grants to Large and Medium-Sized Airports
Eliminate the Deduction for State and Local Taxes
Further Limit Annual Contributions to Retirement Plans
Include All Income That U.S. Citizens Earn Abroad in Taxable Income
Increase Taxes That Finance the Federal Share of the Unemployment Insurance System
Limit the Value of Itemized Deductions
Modify the Rules for the Sourcing of Income From Exports
Reduce Federal Funding for the Arts and Humanities
Reduce or Constrain Funding for the National Institutes of Health
Reduce the Number of Ballistic Missile Submarines
Convert Medicare to a Premium Support System
Eliminate Exchange Subsidies for People With Income Over 300 Percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
Impose a Tax on Financial Transactions
Include Investment Income From Life Insurance and Annuities in Taxable Income
Increase Fees for Aviation Security
Restrict Pell Grants to Students Who Meet Academic Progress Requirements
Restrict Pell Grants to Students Who Meet More Stringent Academic Eligibility Requirements
Defer Interest Deductions Related to Deferred Income
Eliminate Check-the-Box Rules
Tax the Worldwide Income of U.S. Corporations as It Is Earned
Eliminate the Subchapter S Option and Tax Limited Liability Companies as C Corporations
Treat Large Pass-Through Entities as C Corporations
Extend the Waiting Period for DI Benefits From 5 Months to 12 Months
Raise the DI Tax Rate by 0.4 Percentage Points
Reduce DI Benefits for People Age 53 and Older
Apply the Social Security Benefit Formula to Individual Years of Earnings
Consolidate the Department of Defense's Retail Activities and Provide a Grocery Allowance to Service Members
Gradually Eliminate the Mortgage Interest Deduction
Include Social Security Benefits in Calculating the Phase-Out of the EITC
Raise the Earliest Eligibility Age for Social Security
Reinstate the Superfund Taxes
Replace the Tax Exclusion for Interest Income on State and Local Bonds With a Direct Subsidy for the Issuer
Set the Corporate Income Tax Rate at 35 Percent for All Corporations
Cap Nonprofit Organizations' Outstanding Stock of Tax-Exempt Bonds
Consolidate and Encourage Efficiencies in Military Exchanges
Create a Sliding Scale for Children's Supplemental Security Income Benefits Based on the Number of Recipients in a Family
Create State Revolving Funds to Finance Rural Water and Waste Disposal
Ease Restrictions on Contracting for Depot Maintenance
Eliminate Administrative Fees Paid to Schools in the Campus-Based Student Aid and Pell Grant Programs
Eliminate General Fiscal Assistance to the District of Columbia
Eliminate National Science Foundation Spending on Elementary and Secondary Education
Eliminate NeighborWorks America
Eliminate Regional Development Agencies
Eliminate Social Security Benefits for Children of Early Retirees
Eliminate Tax Subsidies for Child and Dependent Care
Eliminate the Additional Standard Deduction for Elderly and Blind Taxpayers
Eliminate the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund
Eliminate the EITC for People Who Do Not Live With Children
Eliminate the Energy Star Program
Eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency's Science to Achieve Results Grant Program
Eliminate the Exclusion for Unearned Income Under the Supplemental Security Income Program
Eliminate the Foreign Market Development Program
Eliminate the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Baldrige National Quality Program
Eliminate the Legal Services Corporation
Eliminate the National Park Service's Local Funding for Heritage Area Grants and Statutory Aid
Eliminate the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign
Eliminate the Social Security Lump-Sum Death Benefit
Eliminate the Tax Exclusion for Employment-Based Life Insurance
End the Preferential Treatment of Dividends Paid on Stock Held in Employee Stock Ownership Plans
Finance the Food Safety and Inspection Service Solely Through Fees
Impose a Tax on Emissions of Nitrogen Oxides
Impose a Tax on Emissions of Sulfur Dioxide
Impose Fees on the Small Business Administration's Secondary Market Guarantees
Limit Deductions for Charitable Gifts of Appreciated Assets to the Gifts' Tax Basis
Limit the Repayment Period for Export Credit Guarantees
Reassign Reimbursable Costs for the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program to the Beneficiaries It Serves
Reduce Funding for Research and Development Programs in the Science and Technology Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security
Reduce Funding for the Market Access Program
Reduce Rent Subsidies for Certain One-Person Households
Reduce the Spousal Benefit in Social Security From 50 Percent to 33 Percent
Reduce Veterans' Disability Compensation to Account for Social Security DI Payments
Remove the Ceiling on the Collection of Overpayments From the Supplemental Security Income Program
Require Children Under Age 18 to Attend School Full Time as a Condition of Eligibility for Social Security Benefits
Require Self-Employed People and Employees to Pay the Same Amounts in Payroll Taxes
Require State and Local Pension Plans to Share Data With the Social Security Administration
Require the IRS to Deposit Fees for Its Services in the Treasury as Miscellaneous Receipts
Restrict First-Responder Grants to High-Risk Communities
Substitute Dependent Education Allowances for Domestic On-Base Schools
Tax Large Credit Unions in the Same Way as Other Thrift Institutions
Tax Qualified Sponsorship Payments to Postsecondary Sports Programs
Tax the Federal Home Loan Banks Under the Corporate Income Tax
Tax the Income Earned by Public Electric Utilities