President’s FY 2018 Budget: Big Changes Greeted with Skepticism

Budget Brief 17-09
June 5, 2017

Following a March blueprint, the president released a detailed budget for fiscal year (FY) 2018 on May 23. The far-reaching proposals support a call to amend the Budget Control Act (BCA) to allow $54 billion in additional FY 2018 defense spending, offset by an equal cut in domestic discretionary spending. This summary touches on the broad outline of the budget; specifics will be provided once the appropriations process gets underway

At Long Last, FY 2017 Appropriations Completed

Budget Brief 17-08
May 10, 2017

On May 5, the president signed a fiscal year (FY) 2017 omnibus spending package (P.L. 115-31), completing the appropriations process for FY 2017. The omnibus includes 11 appropriations bills and extends Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and related programs through FY 2018.

The funding levels in the bill are in effect for the remainder of the fiscal year and replace the annualized funding levels set in the previous continuing resolution (CR). The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the bill complies with discretionary spending caps in the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2015.

The budget essentially represents a continuation of the status quo, with level funding for many programs, and few policy riders. This Budget Brief describes funding and policy provisions in the omnibus that are relevant to states. Table 1 includes funding for major grant programs. Compared to FY 2016, states will see a 1.7% increase in these major discretionary programs. Mandatory programs are estimated to increase 3%, largely driven by growth in Medicaid. A few mandatory programs listed on the table are subject to FY 2017 sequestration of non-exempt mandatory programs, as explained below.

FAQs: Federal Government Shutdowns

Budget Brief 17-07
April 5, 2017

FFIS answers frequently asked questions about federal government shutdowns. 

FY 2017 Supplemental Budget Request Targets State Grants

Budget Brief 17-06
March 31, 2017

When the president released his budget blueprint for fiscal year (FY) 2018 on March 16, it was followed by a supplemental request for FY 2017 for additional defense spending, partly offset by non-defense reductions. During the last week of March, a document was released that purported to list options developed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to achieve savings in FY 2017 non-defense discretionary spending, pursuant to the president’s request.

This Budget Brief identifies options with an impact on states. Fifty-state estimates are available below.

FY 2018 Budget Blueprint Cuts Many Grants, Provides Increase to Defense

Budget Brief 17-05
March 17, 2017

The president’s budget blueprint for fiscal year (FY) 2018, America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again, provides top-line discretionary spending levels for federal agencies with some specific details. It does not propose funding levels for most discretionary programs, or information on mandatory spending and revenues.

The spreadsheet linked below shows state detail for those grant programs targeted for elimination in the FY 2018 budget. It is limited to programs included in the FFIS grants database.

Options to Reduce Federal Spending Include State Programs

Budget Brief 17-04
March 3, 2017

Two reports highlight options to reduce federal spending that could be tapped as the fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget process unfolds:

  • The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its periodic report on options to reduce federal spending or increase federal revenues over 10 years. CBO’s options—which number 115—are culled from a variety of sources, including prior president’s budgets, proposed legislation, congressional budget resolutions, private organizations, and others. Options run the full spectrum from charging for services provided to the private sector to raising the retirement age for Social Security.
  • The Heritage Foundation has compiled a list of several proposals to reduce discretionary spending, as part of its Blueprint for Balance: A Federal Budget for 2017. These proposals could be especially relevant because a former Heritage Foundation staffer is reportedly playing a key role in drafting the president’s budget.

FFIS has summarized proposals in the two reports that would have a fiscal impact on states. 

Congress Approves FY 2017 Budget Resolution, Setting Stage for ACA Repeal

Budget Brief 17-03
January 20, 2017

On January 13, Congress adopted a concurrent budget resolution for fiscal year (FY) 2017. In a typical year, the budget resolution is adopted long before the beginning of the fiscal year, setting discretionary spending targets for congressional appropriators to use in drafting the budget.

This year is different. The 114th Congress never adopted a budget resolution or a final spending bill for FY 2017, which began on October 1, 2016. (The fiscal year has thus far been governed by continuing resolutions [CR], the most recent of which expires on April 28, 2017.) The 115th Congress has now resurrected the FY 2017 budget resolution, to pursue its objective of repealing major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

This Budget Brief summarizes provisions of interest to states.

Budget Timelines and Deadlines

Budget Brief 17-02
January 13, 2017

Congressional leaders and the president-elect have outlined a robust agenda for 2017. Priorities include repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), tax reform, infrastructure investment, reducing regulations, and reforming mandatory programs, including Medicaid. In addition, two budgets need to be finalized and the debt limit raised. A number of mandatory programs are also set to expire this year, most notably the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

This brief provides a timeline for the fiscal year (FY) 2017 and FY 2018 budgets, and highlights programs and deadlines that require congressional action.

Reconciliation: What States Need to Know

Budget Brief 17-01
January 11, 2017

The 115th Congress has begun the year by attempting to repeal major provisions of the Affordable Care Act through the budget reconciliation process—a tool with which Congress can pass mandatory spending and tax changes under limited debate in the Senate.

The Center for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) has published a Q&A explaining reconciliation. This Budget Brief provides a summary of its analysis, and examines the potential significance of reconciliation for states.


Second FY 2017 CR Extends into April

Budget Brief 16-12
December 12, 2016

Congress approved—and the president signed—a second continuing resolution (CR) for fiscal year (FY) 2017 that will keep the federal government operating until April 28, 2017. The CR:

  • requires a -0.1901% across-the-board (ATB) rescission for most discretionary programs

  • extends Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and related programs until April 28

  • appropriates $500 million for opioid response state grants

  • provides funding for disaster relief and the Flint, Michigan, water crisis

This Budget Brief highlights what states need to know about the CR. Table 1 shows annualized funding levels for major grants under it.

Past Proposals Could Foreshadow Changes to Come

Budget Brief 16-11
November 21, 2016

The outcome of the presidential election increases the likelihood that next year will bring big changes to state grant programs. Meanwhile, the House budget committee has released a series of budget documents in recent years that recommend precedent-setting changes to some grants. This Budget Brief uses these documents to flag proposals that could gain currency in the coming months and years.

Budget Process Reform Update

Budget Brief 16-10
November 2, 2016

On September 29, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government funded through December 9, 2016. The bill represents the 107th CR since fiscal year (FY) 1977, and this is the 19th consecutive year that a CR has been needed. Lawmakers from both parties and chambers have cited the stopgap measure as evidence of the need to reform the budget process. This Budget Brief provides historical background on the budget process, and highlights recent budget reform proposals.

Revisiting the Budget Control Act

Budget Brief 16-09
October 26, 2016

It’s been more than five years since the enactment of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). This Budget Brief revisits the law, focusing on its discretionary spending limits and sequestration provisions. It discusses the changes Congress has made to the law in recent years, and the outlook for fiscal year (FY) 2018 and beyond.

Congress Passes CR; Includes ATB Rescission, Zika Funding

Budget Brief 16-08
September 29, 2016

The House and Senate approved a continuing resolution (CR) for fiscal year (FY) 2017 that would keep the federal government operating until December 9, 2016. The CR is part of a package that includes $1.1 billion in supplemental funding for Zika response efforts and a full-year appropriation for Military Construction-Veterans Affairs (VA). 

This Budget Brief highlights what states need to know about the CR, and provides details on Zika supplemental funding.  

FY 2017 Appropriations Update: Labor, HHS, Education

Budget Brief 16-07
July 22, 2016

The Senate appropriations committee approved its fiscal year (FY) 2017 Labor-Health and Human Services (HHS)-Education appropriations bill (S. 3040) on June 9. The House appropriations committee marked up its version on July 14. This brief highlights funding levels and provisions of interest to states in the two bills.

FY 2017 Appropriations Update: Homeland Security

Budget Brief 16-06
June 29, 2016

Fiscal year (FY) 2017 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have been approved by appropriations committees in both the House (House Committee Draft) and Senate (S. 3001). As in prior years, both chambers largely reject the president’s proposals to overhaul state and local grant programs within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), opting instead to continue the current grant structure. This brief summarizes provisions of note in the House and Senate bills.

FY 2017 Appropriations Update: Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

Budget Brief 16-05
June 23, 2016

The House appropriations committee approved its fiscal year (FY) 2017 interior and environment appropriations bill (House committee draft) on June 15. The Senate appropriations committee approved its bill (S. 3068) on June 16. In addition to the two cabinet-level departments, this bill covers related agencies that oversee state grants, including the Forest Service, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. This brief highlights funding levels and provisions of interest to states in the House and Senate bills.

FY 2017 Appropriations Update: Agriculture and Nutrition

Budget Brief 16-04
June 13, 2016

The House Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year (FY) 2017 agriculture and nutrition appropriations bill (H.R. 5054) on April 19. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its bill (S. 2956) on May 19. This brief summarizes funding levels and provisions of interest to states included in the two bills.

FY 2017 Appropriations Update: Transportation-Housing and Urban Development

Budget Brief 16-03
June 6, 2016

The Senate passed its fiscal year (FY) 2017 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) appropriations bill (H.R. 2577) on May 19. The House version of the T-HUD bill was approved by the House Appropriations Committee on May 24, and is expected to reach the House floor later this month. This brief summarizes funding levels and provisions of interest to states included in the bills.

FY 2017 Appropriations Update: Commerce-Justice-Science

Budget Brief 16-02
June 3, 2016

Both the House (Committee Draft) and Senate (S. 2837) appropriations committees have approved fiscal year (FY) 2017 legislation providing funds for Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS). This brief summarizes relevant components of the two bills.

If a Budget Falls in the Forest…

Budget Brief 16-01
February 24, 2016

The president’s proposed budget for fiscal year (FY) 2017 was released on February 9, 2016. The budget adheres to the defense and non-defense discretionary spending caps for FY 2017 included in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA). However, it also includes many new mandatory spending proposals, and would eliminate sequestration of mandatory programs. Nevertheless, all of the budget’s tax cuts and spending increases are fully offset by tax increases and other savings over 10 years—the Center for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that the budget would reduce deficits by $2.9 trillion by FY 2026.

This Budget Brief highlights the major themes of the budget, proposals for new programs, program eliminations, and other provisions of interest to states. Under the proposed budget, funding would increase 1.4% for major discretionary programs, 6.6% for mandatory programs, and 5.1% overall.