The long-term budget outlook

When the Congressional Budget Office released its recent report, the immediate emphasis was on fiscal 2014 and the fact that no additional cuts would be required in the final weeks. However, CBO also projected the discretionary budget caps for each year between now and FY 2021 -- as mandated under the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 and amended by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

Here's what agencies can expect in terms of funding levels for the next several years, unless or until Congress crafts a new long-term budget deal. 

Discretionary Budget Estimates for 2014 - 2021

- Defense spending (in billions of dollars)
- Nondefense spending (in billons of dollars)

*The 2014 discretionary cap has been adjusted to account for all of the following expenditures: overseas contingency operations, disaster relief, program integrity initiatives, emergency requirements, and estimating differences. These expenditures, as a whole, increased the initial caps by $99 billion. A breakdown for each of the adjustments is listed on the second page of the CBO's report.

Discretionary Breakdown
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Defense (billions)* $606 $521 $523 $536 $549 $562 $576 $590
Nondefense (billions)* $505 $492 $492 $504 $515 $529 $543 $555
Totals (billions)* $1,111 $1,014 $1,015 $1,040 $1,065 $1,092 $1,119 $1,145

*All of the numbers in each of these rows have been rounded to the nearest billion.

SOURCE: CBO - Sequestration Update Report: August 2014 & PDF (hosted locally).

About the Author

Jonathan Lutton is an FCW editorial fellow. Connect with him at


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