Archive

Archive for the ‘Congressional Budget Office’ Category

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).

CBO — Report on the Troubled Asset Relief Program—March 2015

March 23, 2015 Comments off

Report on the Troubled Asset Relief Program—March 2015
Source: Congressional Budget Office

In October 2008, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (Division A of Public Law 110-343) established the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to enable the Department of the Treasury to promote stability in financial markets through the purchase and guarantee of “troubled assets.” Section 202 of that legislation, as amended, requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to submit annual reports on the costs of the Treasury’s purchases and guarantees of troubled assets. The law also requires CBO to prepare its own assessment of the TARP’s costs within 45 days of OMB’s report. That assessment must discuss three elements:

  • The costs of purchases and guarantees of troubled assets,
  • The information and valuation methods used to calculate those costs, and
  • The impact on the federal budget deficit and debt.

To fulfill its statutory requirement, CBO has prepared this report on the TARP’s transactions that were completed, outstanding, or anticipated as of January 31, 2015. By CBO’s estimate, $440 billion of the initially authorized $700 billion will be disbursed through the TARP, including $427 billion that has already been disbursed and $13 billion in additional projected disbursements.

The Effects of Potential Cuts in SNAP Spending on Households With Different Amounts of Income

March 18, 2015 Comments off

The Effects of Potential Cuts in SNAP Spending on Households With Different Amounts of Income
Source: Congressional Budget Office

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps) provides benefits to low-income households to help them buy food. Total federal expenditures on SNAP amounted to $76 billion in fiscal year 2014. In an average month that year, 47 million people (or one in seven U.S. residents) received SNAP benefits.

Some policymakers have expressed a desire to scale back the program significantly to reduce federal spending. In this report, CBO examines several options for doing so and their effects on the benefits that would be received by households with different amounts of income.

CBO — Preserving the Navy’s Forward Presence With a Smaller Fleet

March 17, 2015 Comments off

Preserving the Navy’s Forward Presence With a Smaller Fleet
Source: Congressional Budget Office

In support of its mission to deter conflict or fight in wars if necessary, the Navy considers it a core responsibility to maintain a forward presence—to keep some of its fleet far from U.S. shores at all times in areas that are important to national interests. Toward that end, at any given time, about one-third of the fleet is deployed overseas. The rest of the Navy’s ships are in or near their home ports in the United States for maintenance, training, or sustainment (a period in which a ship is in port but ready to deploy quickly). Most of the ships that contribute to the Navy’s current forward presence of about 100 ships sail from ports in the United States; 31 others are now stationed permanently in foreign countries or at overseas U.S. military bases. In the future, the Navy expects to boost the proportion of ships that it bases abroad.

CBO estimates that, for the next 30 years, the Navy’s 2015 shipbuilding plan (which aims to increase the fleet from 281 ships in 2014 to 306 ships by 2022) would cost about $21 billion annually, on average, in constant 2014 dollars. The Navy’s estimates set the figure somewhat lower—at about $19 billion per year. Both estimates are greater than the annual average of almost $16 billion that the Navy has spent for the past three decades, which suggests that the Navy may have difficulty affording its plans. The Chief of Naval Operations’ emphasis on forward operations indicates that the Navy has committed to maintaining the largest possible forward presence under any given budget plan.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,053 other followers