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Federal Spending – Fast Facts

All fast facts for Federal Spending are from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (NCFRR), and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). They do not represent all of their reports on this subject. Some simply provide historical context. Occasionally minor word adjustments may have been made for clarity or to reflect the updated nature of the statement. As always, verify and view statements in their full context as often as possible.

Critics of the budget process point to different evidence. Last winter (1995-1996), the President vetoed the reconciliation and welfare reform measures that included most of the policy changes necessary to follow through on the budget resolution’s recommendation for a balanced budget.  The Congress and the President were unable to reach final agreement on funding levels for major federal programs for the current fiscal year until this past spring, when the fiscal year was already half over.  That disagreement led to two partial shutdowns of the federal government, required the Congress to enact a record number of continuing appropriation acts, and delayed essential legislation increasing the limit on the public debt. This year, critics say, is shaping up as a repeat of last year’s failure.    Click here to verify at Page 2
Yet much of the apparent failure of the budget process over the past year or so actually has been a product of political disagreement between the President and the Congress over budget priorities. That disagreement has not been the result of inherent flaws in the budget process. The budget process is not designed to force certain outcomes without broad political agreement or, conversely, to obstruct those outcomes when agreement has been reached.   Click here to verify at Page 3
Adjusted for payment shifts, defense spending declined by $9 billion (or about 4 percent) in the first 4 months of FY 2012.  Click here to verify
As the economy expands in the next several years and as statutory caps constrain discretionary appropriations, federal spending in CBO’s baseline projections declines modestly relative to GDP before turning up again because of increasing expenses generated by the aging of the population and rising costs for health care. Projected spending averages 21.9 percent of GDP over the 2013-2022 period, a percentage that is less than the 23.2 percent CBO estimates for 2012 but that is still elevated by historical standards.   Click here to verify at Summary Page
  • Net payments to the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac increased by $11 billion.  Click here to verify
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Voting Key


Fact = 100% - 92% True
Mostly Fact = 91% - 75% True
Slightly Fact = 74% - 60% True
Split = 59% - 50% True
Slightly Fiction = 49% - 30% True
Mostly Fiction = 29% - 10% True
Fiction = 9% - 0% True