The Bipartisan Budget Act Builds on Fiscal Discipline

Agreement Preserves 92 Percent of Sequester Savings



The Budget Control Act (BCA) did two things: First, it put caps on discretionary spending, saving about $1 trillion. Then, it created a Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (“super committee”) and tasked it with finding at least $1.2 trillion in additional deficit reduction by 2021.

In case the committee failed to report such a bill or Congress failed to pass it, the BCA directed the President to order an automatic sequestration of non-exempt funds to achieve that $1.2 trillion in savings. In other words, the law would lower the discretionary spending caps and reduce mandatory programs even further with an arbitrary, across-the-board cut. The committee failed to report a bill, so the President ordered the first installment of the sequester on March 1, 2013.

The Bipartisan Budget Act Preserves 92 Percent of the BCA’s Sequester

The Bipartisan Budget Act picks up where the super committee left off. It slightly raises the BCA’s budget caps for fiscal years 2014 and 2015, and it keeps them in place for the remainder of the BCA’s timeframe, or fiscal years 2016–2021.

CBO finds the sequester would save about $833 billion from FY 2014–FY2021.[1] It also finds the Bipartisan Budget Agreement would provide about $63 billion in sequester relief during FY 2014–FY2015 but no sequester relief beyond those years. [2] So about $770 billion of the original BCA sequester savings—or 92 percent—would remain intact if the Bipartisan Budget Act became law.

[1] Congressional Budget Office. Effect of the Automatic Spending Reductions in CBO’s May 2013 Baseline

[2] Cost Estimate for the Bipartisan Budget Act. Page 2.