Nov. 29, 2019: At its final meeting, the 16-member bipartisan Joint (House-Senate) Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform — established in early 2018 by the Bipartisan Budget Act — failed to report a bill that would have transitioned congressional budget resolutions from the current annual schedule to a biennial schedule. Only 7 members of the 16-member panel supported the bill; passage would have required a majority of Republican and a majority of Democratic committee members. Link to GovBudget’s Joint Committee web page for full details of the Committee’s nine months of hearings and deliberations on a wide variety of process reform proposals. [Also failing to meet a November 30 deadline was the Joint Select Committee on the Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans, launched in early 2018 to address the projected $65 billion shortfall in payments owed by multiemployer pension plans.]
Nov. 28, 2018: Ways & Means releases 2018 Green Book providing background and materials on programs within the Committee’s jurisdiction, including Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment Insurance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Foster Care and Adoption Assistance, and Child Support Enforcement.
Oct. 15, 2018: Treasury-OMB Statement calculates final FY 2018 budget deficit as$779 billion, $113 billion more than the prior year. (FY 2018 ended on September 30.)
Source: OMB Mid-Session Review July 2018
The $4.1 trillion Federal Budget breaks down as follows (FY 2018 Outlays):
- Social Security: $982 billion
Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance.
- Medicare: $586 billion
(Gross Outlays of $707 billion minus $124 billion from premiums and other offsetting receipts)
Medicare is national health insurance administered by the federal government for people 65 and over and disabled Americans. It is financed by payroll taxes, general tax revenues, premiums and copayments. The above number is total Medicare outlays.
- Medicaid: $399 billion
Medicaid, financed jointly by the federal and state governments, is administered by the states. It is the major health program for low-income Americans. A large portion of Medicaid pays for long-term care for low-income elderly.
- Affordable Care Act Subsidies: $52 billion
Background: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)
- Other Mandatory (mostly entitlement) Spending: $556 billion:
“Mandatory spending,” as the words imply, is not discretionary. Program are considered “mandatory spending” when Congress does not make annual funding decisions on how much to appropriate. Most mandatory spending is comprised of “entitlement programs,” the annual costs of which are driven by benefit formulas written into permanent law. Spending from entitlement programs can only be changed by amending the underlying laws that established the programs. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are the largest mandatory spending programs comprising nearly half of the budget, as displayed in the pie chart above.
- Net Interest on the Debt: $322 billion
Interest paid on the accumulated Federal debt. Annual interest payments are projected to reach $1 trillion per year within a decade due to exploding deficits.
- Defense Discretionary Spending: $613 billion
Click on “Defense” on the red navigation bar for background and trends on defense spending.
- Non-defense Discretionary: $660 billion
Annual appropriations for a multitude of government operations and programs are often known as “non-defense discretionary” — Including law enforcement, veterans health care, homeland security, education, prisons, NASA, disease and epidemic control, highways & bridges, food and drug inspection, disaster relief, airports, health research, housing assistance, and many other functions of government.
The $3.33 trillion in Federal revenues breaks down as follows (FY 2018):
- Individual Income Tax: $1,684 billion
- Payroll Tax (Social Security and Hospital Insurance): $1,171 billion
- Corporate Income Tax: $205 billion
- Misc. Receipts: $111 billion
- Excise Taxes: $95 billion
- Customs Duties: $41 billion
- Estate & Gift Tax: $23 billion