Cyclopedia of Congressional Budget Law

Deficit

Summary

In the Congressional Budget process, the term deficit means an amount by which outlays expended by the Federal Government exceed receipts it collects. It is usually an annual amount, though it can refer to an amount over a period of times. For example, the reconciliation instruction in the budget resolution which provided for the consideration of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (115th Congress) directed the Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committee to “increase the deficit”  by $1.5 trillion over ten years. 

The term may also be used in different contexts by use of modifiers, such as the “trade deficit”. 


GAO Glossary of Terms and Definition (September 2005)

Deficit

The amount by which the government’s spending exceeds its revenues for a given period, usually a fiscal year (opposite of surplus).

BUDGET DEFICIT

The amount by which the government’s budget outlays exceed its budget receipts for a given period, usually a fiscal year. (See also Budget Surplus under Surplus.)

UNIFIED DEFICIT/TOTAL DEFICIT

The amount by which the government’s on-budget and off-budget outlays exceed the sum of its on-budget and off-budget receipts for a given period, usually a fiscal year. (See also Budget Surplus under SurplusOff-Budget.)

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CBO Glossary of the Terms

Deficit

deficit: The amount by which the government’s spending exceeds its revenues for a given period, usually a fiscal year. See surplus.

surplus: The amount by which the government’s total receipts exceed its total outlays for a given period, usually a fiscal year. See deficit.

Glossary of Terms Used in the Congressional Budget Process


Deficit: The amount by which the government’s total budget outlays exceeds its total receipts for a fiscal year.

Definition of Net Deficit Reduction

Net Deficit Reduction: Savings below the defined budget baseline achieved for the upcoming fiscal year because of laws enacted or final regulations promulgated since January 1. CBO and OMB independently estimate these savings in their initial and final sequester reports.

[The Congressional Budget Process: An Explanation, Appendix J (Glossary), Committee on the Budget of the U.S. Senate, S. Prt. 105-67 (Revised December 1998).]


Definition of Deficit Added by BBEDCA

When amending the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 added this section providing a definition for deficit:

Sec. 201. Congressional Budget

 

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Deficiency Appropriation

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Deflation

 

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