Budget Enforcement Act of 1990
SEC. 13301. OFF-BUDGET STATUS OF OASDI TRUST FUNDS.
(a) Exclusion of Social Security From All Budgets.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the receipts and disbursements of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund shall not be counted as new budget authority, outlays, receipts, or deficit or surplus for purposes of—
(1) the budget of the United States Government as submitted by the President,
(2) the congressional budget, or
(b) Exclusion of Social Security From Congressional Budget.—Section 301(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 is amended by adding at the end the following: “The concurrent resolution shall not include the outlays and revenue totals of the old age, survivors, and disability insurance program established under title II of the Social Security Act or the related provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 in the surplus or deficit totals required by this subsection or in any other surplus or deficit totals required by this title.”.
This section is not classified to the U.S. Code. See the notes accompanying 2 U.S.C. 632, where it is set out under the heading “Exclusion of Social Security From All Budgets”.
BEA 1990 JOINT EXPLANATORY STATEMENT ON SOCIAL SECURITY
The Joint Explanatory Statement of Managers on the Conference Report for the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990 included this description of the amendments made to the Social Security program:
VI. TREATMENT OF SOCIAL SECURITY
Under current law, the Social Security trust funds are off-budget but are included in deficit estimates and calculations made for purposes of the sequestration process. However, Social Security benefit payments are exempt from any sequestration order.
Section 310(g) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 prohibits the consideration of reconciliation legislation “that contains recommendations” with respect to Social Security. (A motion to waive this point of order requires 60 votes in the Senate and a simple majority in the House.)
The House bill reaffirms the off-budget status of Social Security and removes the trust funds-excluding interest receipts-from the deficit estimates and calculations made in the sequestration process. The House bill retains the current law exemption of Social Security benefit payments from any sequestration order.
The House bill creates a “fair wall” point of order (as free-standing legislation) to prohibit the consideration of legislation that would change the actuarial balance of the Social Security trust funds over a 5-year or 75-year period. In the case of legislation decreasing Social Security revenues, the prohibition would not apply if the legislation also included an equivalent increase in Medicare taxes for the period covered by the legislation.
The Senate amendment also reaffirms the off-budget status of Social Security and removes the trust funds from the deficit estimates and calculations made in the sequestration process. However, unlike the House bill, the Senate amendment removes the gross trust fund transactions-including interest receipts-from the sequestration deficit calculations. The Senate amendment also retains the current law exemption of Social Security benefit payments from any sequestration order.
The Senate amendment also creates a procedural fire wall to protect Social Security financing, but does so by expanding certain budget enforcement provisions of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. The Senate amendment expands the prohibition in Section 310(g) of the Budget Act to specifically protect Social Security financing, prohibits the consideration of a reported budget resolution calling for a reduction in Social Security surplus, and includes Social Security in the enforcement procedures under Sections 302 and 311 of the Budget Act. The Senate amendment also requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to provide an actuarial analysis of any legislation affecting Social Security, and generally prohibits the consideration of legislation lacking such an analysis.
For more on the budgetary treatment of Social Security under current law and historically, see Senate Comm. on the Budget, Social Security Preservation Act, S. Rep. No. 101-426, 101st Cong. 2d Sess. (1990).
The conference agreement incorporates the Senate position on the budgetary treatment of the Social Security trust funds, reaffirming their off-budget status and removing all their transactions from the deficit estimates and calculations made in the sequestration process.
Further, the conference agreement provides that the “fire wall” procedure proposed by the House shall apply only to the House and that the “fire wall” procedures proposed by the Senate shall apply only to the Senate.
U.S. House of Representatives, Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990: Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 5835, House Report 101-964 (October 27, 1990), pp. 1160-1161. (Budget Enforcement Act of 1990)
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY NOTES
Pub. L. 101–508, title XIII, §13301, Nov. 5, 1990, 104 Stat. 1388, 1388–623; (Budget Enforcement Act of 1990).