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CBO — China’s Growing Energy Demand: Implications for the United States: Working Paper 2015-05

June 29, 2015 Comments off

China’s Growing Energy Demand: Implications for the United States: Working Paper 2015-05
Source: Congressional Budget Office

Growing rapidly in recent decades, China’s demand for energy has nearly doubled since 2005—making China the world’s largest consumer of energy. That growth and the energy policies that China pursues increase the level and possibly the volatility of some energy prices, reduce the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing firms in relation to Chinese firms but provide benefits for U.S. consumers, and increase greenhouse gas emissions. This paper examines trends in China’s energy consumption, the implications of those trends for U.S. households and businesses, and policy options that might help minimize adverse effects.

CBO — The 2015 Long-Term Budget Outlook

June 17, 2015 Comments off

The 2015 Long-Term Budget Outlook
Source: Congressional Budget Office

If current laws remained generally unchanged, federal debt held by the public would exceed 100 percent of GDP by 2040 and continue on an upward path relative to the size of the economy—a trend that could not be sustained indefinitely.

CBO — Federal Reinsurance for Terrorism Risk in 2015 and Beyond: Working Paper 2015-04

June 12, 2015 Comments off

Federal Reinsurance for Terrorism Risk in 2015 and Beyond: Working Paper 2015-04
Source: Congressional Budget Office

The reauthorization of the federal government’s terrorism risk insurance program in January 2015 helps ensure that private insurance for commercial property and casualty losses caused by terrorism remains widely available both before and after an attack. CBO projects that the insurance program will increase federal spending by $3.1 billion and boost net revenues by about $3.5 billion over the next 10 years on an expected-value basis, but those average amounts incorporate a wide and unevenly distributed set of possibilities. Before the program’s reauthorization in January 2015, CBO analyzed a variety of options for federal support of terrorism risk insurance.

This paper examines in more detail some options that might be considered in the future: shift more risk to insurers by raising their deductibles and copayments or by narrowing the scope of the program; strengthen policyholders’ incentives to mitigate losses by charging risk-based prices for the government’s support; and improve private insurers’ ability to offer coverage by changing the tax treatment of catastrophic reserves.

The Status of the Highway Trust Fund and the Budgetary Treatment of Federal Financing Instruments

May 1, 2015 Comments off

The Status of the Highway Trust Fund and the Budgetary Treatment of Federal Financing Instruments
Source: Congressional Budget Office

Presentation by Sarah Puro, an analyst in CBO’s Budget Analysis Division, to the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association.

A Review of CBO’s Activities in 2014 Under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

April 3, 2015 Comments off

A Review of CBO’s Activities in 2014 Under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
Source: Congressional Budget Office

Sixteen laws enacted in 2014 contain intergovernmental mandates and 26 contain private-sector mandates. Of the 539 bills that CBO analyzed in 2014, 47 contained intergovernmental mandates and 75 contained private-sector mandates.

The federal government, through laws and regulations, sometimes imposes requirements—known as federal mandates—on state, local, and tribal governments and entities in the private sector to achieve national goals. In 1995, lawmakers enacted the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) in part to ensure that, during the legislative process, the Congress receives information about the potential effects of mandates as it considers proposed legislation. To that end, UMRA requires the Congressional Budget Office, at certain stages in the legislative process, to assess the cost of mandates that would apply to state, local, and tribal governments or to the private sector. This report, which is part of an annual series that began in 1997, summarizes CBO’s activities in 2014 under UMRA.

CBO — Using ESPCs to Finance Federal Investments in Energy-Efficient Equipment

March 30, 2015 Comments off

Using ESPCs to Finance Federal Investments in Energy-Efficient Equipment
Source: Congressional Budget Office

A variety of laws and executive orders require federal agencies to improve the energy efficiency of their facilities and to pursue a range of other energy-related goals. Because the availability of annual appropriations is limited, the Administration encourages federal agencies to use other types of financing—such as energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs)—to fund investments related to energy efficiency.

Under an ESPC, a private party agrees to pay to design, acquire, install, and, in some cases, operate and maintain energy-conservation equipment—such as new windows, lighting, or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems—in a federal facility. In return, the federal agency agrees to pay for those services and equipment over time, as well as for the vendor’s financing costs, on the basis of anticipated and realized reductions in the agency’s energy costs.

Such contracts are examples of third-party financing, in which vendors privately fund investments for federal agencies. In the case of an ESPC, the vendor is usually an energy service company (a business that focuses on projects and technologies to reduce energy use). Similar arrangements exist, called utility energy service contracts (also known as UESCs), in which the services and equipment are provided by a utility. Although data about the characteristics and results of utility energy service contracts are less readily available than similar data about ESPCs, the discussion of ESPCs in this report generally applies to those other contracts as well.

CBO — Legislation Enacted in the 113th Congress That Will Affect Mandatory Spending or Revenues

March 27, 2015 Comments off

Legislation Enacted in the 113th Congress That Will Affect Mandatory Spending or Revenues
Source: Congressional Budget Office

This report summarizes the Congressional Budget Office’s estimates of the budgetary effects of laws enacted in the 113th Congress that will affect mandatory spending or revenues. Those laws were enacted in calendar years 2013 and 2014.

Table 1 includes legislation that was enacted in the first session of that Congress and shows CBO’s estimates of budgetary effects for fiscal years 2013 through 2023. According to CBO’s estimates, those laws will increase budget deficits in fiscal years 2013 through 2016 and will decrease deficits in fiscal years 2017 through 2023. All told, CBO estimated that those laws will reduce federal budget deficits by about $76 billion over the 2013-2023 period.

Table 2 includes legislation enacted in the second session and, in most cases, shows the agency’s estimates for fiscal years 2014 through 2024. According to CBO’s estimates, those laws will increase budget deficits in fiscal years 2014, 2015, and 2023, and will decrease deficits in all of the other years through 2024. In total, CBO estimated that those laws will add about $24 billion to budget deficits over the 2014–2024 period (excluding any 2024 effects from one law for which CBO’s estimate did not encompass that year).

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