In a report required by law, CBO provides estimates of the caps on discretionary funding for each fiscal year through 2021. CBO concludes that the discretionary appropriations provided to date for 2019 do not exceed the caps for this year.
By August 15 of each year, the Congressional Budget Office is required to publish its estimates of the limits (often called caps) on discretionary budget authority that were established under the Budget Control Act of 2011 (Public Law 112-25) and that remain in effect through fiscal year 2021. CBO also must report whether, according to its estimates, enacted legislation for the current fiscal year has exceeded the caps and thus would trigger a cancellation of budgetary resources, known as a sequestration.
In CBO’s estimation, a sequestration will not be required for 2019. However, the authority to make that determination— and, if so, how to cut budget authority—rests with the Administration’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which reported in March that appropriations for 2019 had not exceeded the caps.
Appropriations made since March have been designated as emergency requirements, thus falling into one of the categories that cannot breach a cap. By law, the caps on discretionary spending are adjusted upward when an appropriation is provided as an emergency requirement or to fund overseas contingency operations (such as military activities in Afghanistan). The caps also can be raised to accommodate budget authority provided for disaster relief or for certain program integrity initiatives.