In a report required by law, CBO provides estimates of the caps on discretionary funding for fiscal years 2020 and 2021. CBO concludes that the discretionary appropriations provided to date for 2020 do not exceed the caps for this year.
By August 15 of each year, CBO 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 will trigger a cancellation of budgetary resources, known as a sequestration.
In CBO’s estimation, a sequestration will not be required for 2020. 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 January that appropriations for 2020 had not exceeded the caps.
Although additional appropriations totaling an estimated $503 billion have been made since January, they were designated as emergency requirements, one of the categories of funding that cannot breach a cap. By law, the caps 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 some types of disaster relief, the 2020 census, wildfire suppression, or certain program integrity initiatives.