All years referred to in this report are federal fiscal years, which run from October 1 to September 30 and are designated by the calendar year in which they end. Numbers in the text and tables may not add up to totals because of rounding.
This report by the Congressional Budget Office summarizes the agency’s estimates of the effects on mandatory spending or revenues of authorizing legislation that was enacted during the first session of the 117th Congress (which spanned the period from January 3, 2021, to January 3, 2022). CBO prepared each estimate when the legislation was last considered by the Congress, measuring costs and revenues against the baseline projections used for budget enforcement by the House and Senate Committees on the Budget. Those estimates do not include subsequent changes that were made as part of CBO’s updates to its baseline projections. Estimates of changes to tax law were provided by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT). For consistency, each estimate covers the same period as the one CBO used for the corresponding cost estimate during the session.
According to CBO’s and JCT’s estimates, the effects on mandatory spending and revenues of laws enacted during the first session of the 117th Congress will add about $1.7 trillion to the cumulative deficit over the 2021–2031 period—the result of a $1.7 trillion net increase in outlays and a $4 billion net increase in revenues (see Table 1).
One law in particular—the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (Public Law 117-2)—accounts for an increase in deficits of $1.8 trillion over the 2021–2031 period, stemming primarily from an increase in mandatory outlays. That law extends many of the spending and revenue policies of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (P.L. 116-136), which was enacted during the 116th Congress. Those policies provide assistance to individuals, to businesses, and to state, local, and tribal governments in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The law with the next-largest budgetary effects—the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (P.L. 117-58)—is estimated to decrease mandatory outlays and increase revenues, reducing deficits by $159 billion over the 2021–2031 period.
- Supplemental Table 1 lists the laws enacted during the first session of the 117th Congress by date of enactment and provides their estimated effects over the 2021–2031 period. Each entry includes the number of the underlying bill and, when possible, a link to the relevant cost estimate on CBO’s website. The amounts in a referenced cost estimate may differ from the amounts shown in the table because the enacted version of the bill may differ from the version CBO initially analyzed.
- Supplemental Table 2 lists the 23 laws enacted during the first session of the 117th Congress that CBO estimated would have insignificant budgetary effects—specifically, laws that would increase or decrease annual and cumulative deficits by less than $500,000 over the 2021–2031 period. Those laws also are listed by date of enactment; however, because their effects are relatively small, the table does not provide links to the relevant cost estimates. Laws that were estimated to have no budgetary effects are not listed.
1. Mandatory spending is generally governed by statutory criteria and is not normally controlled by the annual appropriation process.
The amounts in this report and its two supplemental tables also incorporate the estimated effects on revenues of provisions included in enacted appropriation legislation. The report and supplemental tables do not include the estimated effects of appropriation legislation on budget authority or outlays because most of those effects are classified in the budget as discretionary spending. Although annual appropriation legislation typically provides a large amount of mandatory spending authority (estimated at more than $1 trillion in 2021), most of that spending is already included in CBO’s baseline projections as required by section 257 of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985. Accordingly, most mandatory spending ascribed to appropriation legislation has no budgetary effects relative to CBO’s baseline projections.
2. For more information about the budgetary effects identified in CBO’s cost estimates, see Congressional Budget Office, How CBO Prepares Cost Estimates (February 2018), .
3. See Congressional Budget Office, estimated budgetary effects of H.R. 1319, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, as passed by the Senate on March 6, 2021 (March 10, 2021), .
4. See Congressional Budget Office, cost estimate for Senate Amendment 2137 to H.R. 3684, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, as proposed on August 1, 2021 (August 5, 2021), .
This report was prepared for the House and Senate Committees on the Budget. In keeping with the Congressional Budget Office’s mandate to provide objective, impartial analysis, the report makes no recommendations.
J’nell Blanco Suchy prepared the report with guidance from Theresa Gullo and Megan Carroll and with assistance from Olivia Yang. Robert Sunshine, Jeffrey Kling, and Mark Doms reviewed the report. Loretta Lettner edited it, and R. L. Rebach created the graphic and prepared the text for publication.
Phillip L. Swagel