In general, after a session of Congress ends, CBO is required to issue a report that provides estimates of the limits (often called caps) on discretionary budget authority that are in effect for each fiscal year through 2021. CBO also must report whether, according to its estimates, enacted legislation for the current fiscal year has exceeded those caps. If so, a sequestration (that is, a cancellation of budgetary resources) would be required.
Normally, CBO’s final sequestration report would be issued 10 days after the end of a session of Congress. However, because the appropriations for fiscal year 2018 were not final at the end of the first session of the 115th Congress on December 29, 2017, the deadline was extended until 10 days after the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (Public Law 115-141), was signed into law on March 23, 2018.
In CBO’s estimation, a sequestration will not be required for 2018. However, the authority to determine whether a sequestration is required and, if so, exactly how to make the necessary cuts in budget authority, rests with the Administration’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Those determinations are based on OMB’s own estimates of federal spending.
See prior editions of CBO’s reports on sequestration.