Budget Basics Archive

Sequestration was designed to be a blunt instrument, whose arbitrary effects would be so undesirable that they would compel policymakers to reach compromise on budget legislation rather than allow the cuts to go into effect.
Reconciliation is a powerful process, whereby legislation drafted to meet those instructions has an easier path to passage.
While a 10-year window is currently the standard, the number of years covered by budget resolutions has varied.
The lack of a long-term solution for federal funding for transportation creates uncertainty, which is disruptive for the planning of construction projects.
CBO was formally established as a nonpartisan agency, and that has been a critical and enduring part of the office's effectiveness.
Each year, through the budget process, the President and Congress have the opportunity to set priorities for the federal government, determining how much should be spent through appropriations for annually-funded programs, known as discretionary spending, and providing the opportunity to review entitlement programs and the tax code.
Each year, some of the revenue the federal government collects comes from various taxes. In 2012, taxpayers paid almost $2.5 trillion, which the government used to partially fund $3.5 trillion worth of spending on Social Security, health care, and other programs in areas such as defense and education. The remainder of spending was funded through deficits.
The United States healthcare system is the most expensive in the world, and our healthcare costs are projected to keep rising. Despite these high costs, our health outcomes are generally no better than those of our peers, and in some cases are worse.
2013 Fall Fiscal Agenda: A Critical Time for Action; 4 upcoming milestones
2013 Fall Fiscal Agenda: A Critical Time for Action; 4 upcoming milestones

Expert Views: Fiscal Commission

We asked experts with diverse views from across the political spectrum to share their perspectives.

National Debt Clock

See the latest numbers and learn more about the causes of our high and rising debt.