Reports With Policy Options

CBO produces numerous reports with specific options or broad approaches for changing federal tax and spending policies.

CBO periodically publishes a reference volume, often referred to as “Budget Options,” that includes dozens of policy options to reduce federal budget deficits.

CBO also prepares analytic reports that examine specific federal programs, aspects of the tax code, and budgetary and economic challenges. A list of recent reports, organized by broad issue area, is given below.

Defense and Veterans

Disability Benefits

  • Report |

    From 2000 to 2013, the number of veterans receiving VA disability payments rose by nearly 55 percent, and spending for those benefits almost tripled. How might changes in VA's disability compensation program affect the federal budget?

  • Report |

    The report discusses how the SSI program works, who receives payments, the program’s spending and interaction with other government programs, the extent to which SSI affects people’s work and saving, and approaches to changing the program.

  • Report |

    The Disability Insurance program provided benefits to 8.3 million disabled workers in 2011. By 2022, CBO projects, the program will provide benefits to over 10 million disabled workers and spending on benefits will exceed $190 billion.

  • Report |

    CBO anticipates that starting in 2016, if current laws remain in place, the program's annual spending will regularly exceed its tax revenues.


  • Report |

    The federal government influences innovation through two broad channels: spending and tax policies, and the legal and regulatory systems. Policymakers have a number of options for spurring additional innovation.

  • Report |

    In the 2011–2012 academic year, 9.4 million students received $34 billion in Pell grants. How would tightening eligibility or changing grant amounts affect the program’s costs or the number of recipients?

  • Report |

    The interest rate for subsidized student loans is currently scheduled to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1, 2013. What would be the budgetary impact of changing interest rates for student loans?

  • Report |

    This CBO study compares the budgetary and fair-value costs of the federal student loan programs. It also looks at several options for modifying those programs.

Energy, Natural Resources, and the Environment

Health Care

Homeland Security

  • Report |

    Scanning and imaging all U.S.-bound shipping containers at overseas ports would cost $12 billion to $32 billion over 10 years, CBO estimates. Boosting the number of containers imaged at U.S. ports instead would cost considerably less.

  • Report |

    The federal program that provides insurance against the risk of terrorism expired at the end of 2014. CBO has examined various options for the program and their likely effects on the private sector and on the federal government.


Infrastructure and Transportation


Poverty and Income Security

Social Security and Retirement