The Cost of Eight Executive Actions Taken by the Biden Administration
CBO responds to Congressman Jason Smith’s request to provide information about the cost of eight executive actions taken by the Biden Administration and how they are reflected in CBO’s baseline projections.
You have asked the Congressional Budget Office to provide information about the cost of eight executive actions taken by the Biden Administration and how they are reflected in CBO’s baseline projections. CBO’s most recent projections were released in May 2022. Administrative actions taken after the baseline was completed will be reflected in future baselines.
For the purposes of CBO’s current baseline projections, the eight administrative actions you asked about fall into a few categories:
The effects of one action are incorporated into CBO’s May 2022 baseline.
Three actions were not included because insufficient information was available at the time to include them in the May 2022 baseline. The details of two of those actions are still being developed, which will affect the cost of their implementation. The budgetary effects of all three will be accounted for in future baselines.
One action is not included in the May 2022 baseline because its implementation costs are discretionary and thus subject to future appropriation actions.
Three actions were not included in the baseline because court orders prevented their implementation.
You asked about the executive actions’ effect on estimated net interest costs. In general, debt-service costs would depend on the timing of the change in deficits resulting from implementing the action (or from prohibiting its implementation). The closer the change in deficits was to the beginning of the 10-year projection period, the larger the effect on the debt service costs would be. For example, on the basis of CBO’s current economic forecast, increasing deficits (and therefore debt) by $100 million in 2023 would result in additional interest outlays of $27 million over a 10 year period. By contrast, increasing deficits by $10 million per year for 10 years, for a total of $100 million, would be projected to result in additional interest outlays of $15 million over the 10 year period. CBO’s website provides an interactive tool that allows users to simulate debt-service costs under various scenarios.
CBO has estimated the debt-service costs resulting from additional spending for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) because of changes in the value of the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP), combined with changes in the forecast of food price inflation—relative to the July 2021 baseline. Those estimates are discussed in the next section.
On June 23, 2022, CBO reposted this letter to correct an error on page 6. The January 2019 baseline incorporated savings, rather than costs, of $3.3 billion for section 1115 waivers over a 10 year period.