Cyclopedia of Congressional Budget Law

Deficit

Statutory Definition of Deficit (BBEDCA 1985) 

Section 201(a) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (Pub. L. 99-177) (BBEDCA) added a definition of the term “deficit”  to section 3 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.  The definition took into consideration the number of “off-budget” entities that existed at the time of its enactment in 1985. This extensive definition was found to be unnecessary by the time the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-508) (BEA 1990) was enacted three years later, and at that time the only programs considered off-budget were Social Security and the Postal Service. 


Sec. 201. Congressional Budget

(a) Definitions.—

(1) Section 3 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new paragraphs:

“(6) The term ‘deficit’ means, with respect to any fiscal year, the amount by which total budget outlays for such fiscal year exceed total revenues for such fiscal year. In calculating the deficit for purposes of comparison with the maximum deficit amount under the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 and in calculating the excess deficit for purposes of sections 251 and 252 of such Act (notwithstanding section 710(a) of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 911(a)][1] ), for any fiscal year, the receipts of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund for such fiscal year and the taxes payable under sections 1401(a), 3101(a), and 3111(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 during such fiscal year shall be included in total revenues for such fiscal year, and the disbursements of each such Trust Fund for such fiscal year shall be included in total budget outlays for such fiscal year. Notwithstanding any other provision of law except to the extent provided by section 710(a) of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 911(a)],[1] the receipts, revenues, disbursements, budget authority, and outlays of each off-budget Federal entity for a fiscal year shall be included in total budget authority, total budget outlays, and total revenues and the amounts of budget authority and outlays set forth for each major functional category, for such fiscal year. Amounts paid by the Federal Financing Bank for the purchase of loans made or guaranteed by a department, agency, or instrumentality of the Government of the United States shall be treated as outlays of such department, agency, or instrumentality.

[The Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (Pub. L. 99-177, 99 Stat. 1039), adding section 3(6) of the the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (Pub. L. 93-344)December 12,  1985).]


Amendment and repeal by the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990
(Pub. L. 101-508) (BEA)

The BEA 1990 (Pub. L. 101–508, §13112(a)(2)) added paragraphs (6) to (8) and struck out former paragraph (6) which defined “deficit” and contained provisions relating to calculation of the deficit, former paragraph (7) which defined “maximum deficit amount”, and former paragraph (8) which defined “off-budget Federal entity”.

[Back to Cyclopedia Definition of Deficit]

Counsel Notes

[1] This section of the U.S. Code (42 U.S.C. 911(a)) was amended last by section 10209 of the Budget Enforcement Act of 1997 (Pub. L. 105-33). It reads as follows.

(a) The receipts and disbursements of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund and the taxes imposed under sections 1401 and 3101 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 shall not be included in the totals of the budget of the United States Government as submitted by the President or of the congressional budget and shall be exempt from any general budget limitation imposed by statute on expenditures and net lending (budget outlays) of the United States Government. 

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Deflation

 

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