The President’s 2016 Budget was designed to bring middle class
economics into the 21st Century by making the critical investments needed to
accelerate and sustain economic growth in the long run, including in research,
education, training, and infrastructure, while also putting the Nation on a
more sustainable fiscal path. This year’s Budget supports the President’s
ambitious vision for supporting growth and opportunity, and does so while
meeting a key test of fiscal stability: holding deficits to below 3 percent of
GDP and stabilizing debt as a share of the economy. It achieves these goals by
replacing mindless austerity with smart reforms, paying for all new
investments, and obtaining $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction primarily from
health, tax, and immigration reforms. Looking forward, the Administration
remains committed to working with Congress on a long-term budget that reverses
harmful spending cuts known as sequestration to allow for critical investments
in our military readiness, infrastructure, schools, public health, and R&D
that keep our companies on the cutting edge.
“President Obama’s agenda continues to put Federal
finances on a sustainable footing while laying the foundation for durable
economic growth and broadly shared prosperity,” said Treasury Secretary Lew. “Under
the President’s leadership, the deficit has been cut by roughly three-quarters
as a share of the economy since 2009 – the fastest sustained deficit reduction
since just after World War II.”
“Today’s report reaffirms that we can invest in
growth and opportunity and put our Nation’s finances on a strong and
sustainable path,” said OMB Director Shaun Donovan. “We need to stay focused on
strengthening our economy, which means passing a long-term budget that fully
funds the government and reverses the harmful cuts known as sequestration to
allow for critical investments in both our economic and national security.”
Summary of Fiscal Year 2015
Year-end data from the September
2015 Monthly Treasury Statement of Receipts and Outlays of the United States
Government show that the deficit for FY 2015 was $439 billion, the
lowest deficit in dollar terms since 2007. It represents a decrease of $44 billion,
or 9 percent, from the prior year. As a percentage of GDP, the deficit fell to 2.5
percent, down from 2.8 percent in FY 2014, and also the lowest since 2007.
The FY 2015 deficit of $439 billion was $144 billion, or 25 percent,
less than the estimate in the FY 2016 Budget, and $16 billion, or 3 percent,
less than estimated in the FY 2016 Mid-Session Review (MSR), a supplemental
update to the Budget published in July.
Total Receipts, Outlays, and Deficit (in billions of dollars)
FY 2014 Actual
Percentage of GDP
FY 2015 Estimates:
FY 2015 Actual
Percentage of GDP
Note: Detail may not add to totals due to rounding.
receipts totaled $3,249 billion in FY 2015. This was $228 billion higher than
in FY 2014, an increase of 8 percent. As a percentage of GDP, receipts equaled 18.3
percent, 0.7 percentage points higher than in FY 2014. The increase in receipts
from FY 2014 can be attributed to a stronger economy. Growth in wages and
salaries made collections of individual and payroll taxes strong throughout the
year. Corporation income tax collections also increased in FY 2015 due to
growth in taxable profits. Other miscellaneous receipts also increased,
primarily due to fees and payments enacted under the Affordable Care Act that
were collected beginning in FY 2015.
Outlays for FY 2015 were $3,688 billion, $184 billion above those in
FY 2014, a 5 percent increase. As a percentage of GDP, outlays were 20.7 percent,
0.4 percentage points higher than in the prior year. Contributing to the dollar
increase over FY 2014 was higher spending for Social Security, Medicare, and
Medicaid. Outlays also rose because receipts from the government-sponsored
enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are recorded as offsets to
spending, were lower in FY 2015 than in FY 2014. In addition to these
increases, outlays were higher than in the previous year in a number of
agencies, including the Department of Education, the Department of Veterans
Affairs, Other Defense Civil programs, the Office of Personnel Management, and the
Railroad Retirement Board. These increases were partly offset by lower spending
in FY 2015 in the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Housing and Urban
Development, and Labor, among other agencies. Lower interest outlays on debt
held by the public and increased receipts from the sale of spectrum licenses
also offset the overall spending increase.
Total Federal borrowing from the public increased by $337 billion
during FY 2015 to $13,117 billion. The increase in borrowing included $439 billion
in borrowing to finance the deficit, partly offset by $102 billion related to
other transactions that reduced the Government’s financing requirements, such
as changes in deposit fund balances and net disbursements for Federal credit
programs. As a percentage of GDP, borrowing from the public declined from 74.4
percent of GDP at the end of FY 2014 to 73.8 percent of GDP at the end of FY
2015. Total borrowing from the public net of financial assets and liabilities
increased by $438 billion during FY 2015 to $11,993 billion, or 67.5 percent of
GDP. (This measure of net borrowing, as reported in the Monthly Treasury
Statement, excludes the Federal Government’s holdings of Fannie Mae and Freddie
Mac preferred stock. If those stock holdings were included, net borrowing as a
percentage of GDP would be reduced further by roughly 1 percentage point.)
Below are explanations of the differences between estimates in the MSR
and the year-end actual amounts for receipts and agency outlays.
Fiscal Year 2015
Total receipts for FY 2015 were $3,248.7 billion, $0.3 billion higher
than the MSR estimate of $3,248.5 billion. This net increase in receipts
attributable to higher-than-estimated collections of individual income taxes,
excise taxes, and miscellaneous receipts was almost entirely offset by
lower-than-estimated collections of all other sources of receipts. Table 2
displays actual receipts and estimates from the Budget and the MSR by source.
income taxes were $1,540.8 billion, $0.5 billion higher
than the MSR estimate. Withheld
payments of individual income tax liability, which were higher than the
MSR estimate by $1.7 billion, were partially offset by
higher-than-estimated refunds of $0.7 billion and lower-than-estimated
nonwithheld payments of $0.4 billion.
income taxes were $343.8 billion, $3.1 billion lower than
the MSR estimate. This difference
reflected lower-than-expected payments of 2015 corporation income tax
liability of $5.0 billion that were partially offset by
insurance and retirement receipts were
$1,065.3 billion, $5.1 billion lower than the MSR estimate. This reduction
was primarily attributable to lower-than-estimated deposits by States to
the unemployment insurance trust fund of $3.9 billion. Reductions in other
sources of social insurance and retirement receipts – primarily Social
Security and Medicare payroll taxes – accounted for the remaining
reduction in this source of receipts relative to the MSR estimate.
taxes were $98.3 billion, $2.1 billion greater
than the MSR estimate.
and gift taxes were $19.2 billion, $0.4 billion below the
duties were $35.0 billion, $1.3 billion below the
receipts were $146.3 billion, $7.6 billion greater
than the MSR estimate.
Higher-than-expected deposits of earnings by the Federal Reserve
System accounted for $2.3 billion of this increase relative to the MSR.
The remaining increase was in large part attributable to forfeitures
related to a large settlement agreement that was not reflected in the MSR
Fiscal Year 2015 Outlays
Total outlays were $3,687.6 billion for FY 2015, $15.4 billion below
the MSR estimate. Table 3 displays actual outlays by agency and major program
as well as estimates from the Budget and the MSR. The largest changes in
outlays from the MSR were in the following areas:
of Agriculture — Outlays for the Department
of Agriculture were $139.1 billion, $5.5 billion lower than the MSR
for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program were $2.6 billion lower than
the MSR estimate, largely as a result of lower-than-expected participation and
average benefit costs. Less spending than anticipated in the mandatory disaster
assistance programs and a slight delay in the grant awarding for the Biofuels
Infrastructure Program led to lower outlays for the Farm Service Agency (which
includes the Commodity Credit Corporation), $1.2 billion less than in the MSR.
Finally, a new funding mechanism created by the Farm Bill led to slower-than-anticipated
outlays for program contracts under the Regional Conservation Partnership
Program and changes to the way projects are funded under the Watershed
Rehabilitation Program resulted in slower-than-anticipated Natural Resources
Conservation Service outlays for a combined total of $1.2 billion lower than
the MSR estimate.
- Department of Defense
— Outlays for the Department of Defense were $562.5 billion, $3.9 billion
lower than the MSR estimate.
largest contributors to this difference were the working capital (revolving)
funds, net outlays for which, taken together, were $4.1 billion lower than
expected. Price decreases from suppliers, including for fuel, and purchases
that did not occur contributed to the difference from the MSR estimate. Also,
outlays for military construction, family housing, military personnel, and
trust funds were slightly below MSR estimates. These decreases were partially
offset by somewhat higher-than-expected outlays for operation and maintenance,
procurement, and research, development, test and evaluation.
- Department of Education — Outlays for the Department of Education were $90.0
billion, $2.3 billion lower than the MSR estimate.
difference was driven by outlays for higher education programs, almost entirely
due to two programs: the Federal Direct Student Loan Program and the Pell Grant
Program. Because of changes in the mix of activity in direct student loans,
$1.7 billion more in negative subsidy receipts for the FY 2015 loan cohort were
recorded in FY 2015 than estimated in the MSR. Partially offsetting this
difference, actual outlays in the Pell Grant Program were $0.7 billion above
the MSR estimate due to faster-than-expected disbursement patterns.
- Department of Health and Human Services — Outlays for the Department of Health and Human
Services were $1,027.4 billion, $2.4 billion lower than the MSR estimate.
outlays were $3.3 billion higher than the MSR estimate. The difference was
primarily the result of higher-than-anticipated enrollment and benefits
spending during the second half of the year. Outlays for the Children’s Health
Insurance Program were $1.3 billion lower than the MSR estimate due to
lower-than-expected benefits spending. Outlays for Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) were $0.5 billion lower than in the MSR
due to changes in grants administration funding schedules. SAMHSA is
increasingly awarding multi-year grants and awarding grants later in the fiscal
year, resulting in slower than historical outlay patterns. Outlays for the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were $0.8 billion lower than
the MSR estimate due to grants and contracts awarded later than anticipated and
multi-year resources that will be awarded in FY 2016 instead of late in FY
2015, as originally projected. Outlays for Affordable Exchange Grants were $0.8
billion lower than in the MSR due to lower-than-anticipated spending for these
grants to States. Outlays for Risk Adjustment Program Payments were $1.7
billion lower than MSR due to less variability in the risk scores of
participating health plans, resulting in lower overall transfers between plans.
- Department of Homeland Security — Outlays for the Department of Homeland Security were
$42.6 billion, $1.4 billion higher than the MSR estimate.
a number of DHS components were above the MSR estimates, including $1.6 billion
faster-than-expected spending of obligated balances for Coast Guard and Customs
and Border Protection operations. Outlays for the Federal Law Enforcement
Training Center were $0.7 billion higher than the MSR estimate, primarily
because of faster-than-expected execution of reimbursable funding for the
National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility. Partially offsetting these increases,
outlays for the Federal Emergency Management Agency were $0.6 billion below the
MSR estimate, primarily due to due to lower-than-average disaster activity and
slower-than-expected outlays for continuing Hurricane Sandy recovery
of Justice — Outlays for the Department
of Justice were $26.9 billion, $3.7 billion lower than the MSR estimate.
Most of the
difference is attributed to increased collections within receipt accounts
resulting from civil enforcement efforts. A small number of cases under the Financial
Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA) resulted in
large collections in FY 2015, reducing the Department’s net outlays. The
remainder of the variance is due to other factors, including a reduction in the
average daily population of prisoners in the US. Marshals’ custody and negative
outlays from the Working Capital Fund resulting from unanticipated receipts.
- Department of Labor — Outlays for the Department of
Labor were $45.2 billion, $1.3 billion lower than the MSR estimate.
difference from the MSR estimate was the result of differences in two parts of
the Department. First, outlays for the Employment and Training Administration
were $2.6 billion below MSR, primarily due to discrepancies in the Unemployment
Insurance (UI) administrative costs and benefits. Specifically, the MSR
overstated outlays from States administering the Emergency Unemployment
Compensation program and the regular State UI programs by $0.8 billion. In
addition, projected State UI benefits were overstated by $1.0 billion due to
better-than-projected economic conditions. Second, outlays for the Pension
Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) were $1.3 billion above the MSR estimate
because the agency did not receive an expected reimbursement from its trust
fund until after the fiscal year had ended. PBGC pays benefits out of its
on-budget revolving fund; these outlays are then partially offset by a payment
from its non-budgetary trust fund to the revolving fund, which normally happens
- Department of State — Outlays for the Department of State were $26.5
billion, $2.8 billion lower than the MSR estimate.
from the MSR estimate was primarily driven by a delay in lump sum payments to
the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. The delay was
necessary due to a shortfall in statutorily required matching payments from
other donors. There have also been
unexpected delays in implementing the bilateral HIV/AIDS program in many
- Department of Transportation — Outlays for the Department of Transportation were
$75.5 billion, $1.6 billion lower than the MSR estimate.
$0.5 billion of the difference can be attributed to the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA). Within the FAA, outlays were lower due to some annual
contracts being obligated later in the fiscal year, which will result in
outlays for those contracts occurring in the following fiscal year. Further,
grants in the FAA Airport Improvement Program were obligated more slowly than
expected to airport sponsors, slowing FY 2015 outlays. Outlays for a number of
programs in the Office of the Secretary were lower than MSR estimates by $0.4
billion. The Maritime Administration (MARAD) had lower outlays primarily due to
contract awards being slower than anticipated, impacting start dates and
payments. In addition, MARAD had lower-than-expected approvals and closings for
its loan program and a higher-than-realized estimate for reimbursable
agreements for the Ready Reserve Program. The Federal Transit Administration’s lower
spending was primarily due to slower-than-expected obligation of grants in the
emergency relief program, resulting in lower outlays.
- Department of the Treasury — Outlays for the Department of the Treasury were
$485.6 billion, $11.9 billion higher than the MSR estimate.
The increase was mostly due to lower-than-expected
receipts of interest from nonbudgetary credit financing accounts, and greater
interest payments on Treasury debt securities held by other Government
accounts. These effects were partly offset by higher-than-expected dividend
receipts from the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs).
- Net outlays for intragovernmental interest
transactions with non-budgetary credit financing accounts were $10.7
billion higher than projected, including $6.0 billion
lower-than-projected interest paid to credit financing accounts and $16.8
billion lower-than-anticipated receipts of interest received from credit
financing accounts. (Interest received from credit financing accounts is
reported in Treasury’s aggregate offsetting receipts.)
- Interest on the public debt, which is paid on debt
held by Government accounts as well as by the public, was $5.8 billion
higher than the MSR estimate. The difference was due largely to
higher-than-projected interest paid to trust funds and other Government
accounts—particularly the Military Retirement Fund and the Defense
Medicare-Eligible Retiree Health Care Fund—as well as
higher-than-projected interest paid to the public on inflation-indexed
- Dividend payments from GSEs on the Senior Preferred
Stock Purchase Agreements were $3.2 billion higher than projected,
reducing net outlays relative to the MSR, as a result of GSE accounting
gains on derivatives due to increasing long-term interest rates and a
steepening of the yield curve.
- Department of Veterans Affairs — Outlays for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
were $159.2 billion, $1.3 billion higher than the MSR estimate.
difference was driven by higher medical care costs and construction of major
projects, which were partially offset by lower benefit outlays. Outlays for the
Veterans Health Administration were $1.9 billion above the MSR estimate due to
increased delivery of health care, including non-VA care in the community, to
address veterans’ higher demand for medical services and to reduce waiting
times. Other VA outlays were $0.6 billion higher than expected, primarily due to
$0.5 billion in higher outlays for construction of major projects. These
increases were offset by decreases in outlays for compensation and pension
benefits (-$0.7 billion) and readjustment benefits (-$0.6 billion) due to
retroactive payments, the survivor pension caseload, and the Chapter 33
caseload all being lower than anticipated.
- International Assistance Programs — Outlays for International Assistance Programs were
$21.0 billion, $1.0 billion higher than the MSR estimate.
outlays for the Department of State Foreign Military Financing account were
$0.6 billion higher than the MSR estimate, due to higher-than-projected
spending for military assistance programs. In addition, outlays for
international monetary programs were $0.9 billion higher than projected,
reflecting unrealized net gains and losses on the U.S. reserve position in the
International Monetary Fund (IMF). This was largely due to increases in the
value of the dollar relative to the Special Drawing Right (SDR), the IMF unit
of account, resulting in valuation losses (i.e., higher outlays).
Defense Civil Programs —
Outlays for the Other Defense Civil Programs were $63.0 billion, $1.8
billion lower than the MSR estimate.
Most of the difference was due to
higher earnings on investments held by the Defense Medicare-Eligible Retiree
Health Care Fund, which reduced net outlays. Lower-than-expected outlays for
this program were partly offset by higher-than-expected spending for military
- Office of Personnel Management — Outlays for the Office of Personnel Management were
$91.7 billion, $4.8 billion lower than the MSR estimate.
difference is primarily attributable to Congressional inaction on the proposal
for reform of the United States Postal Service (USPS). The MSR proposal
included a $0.8 billion payment in FY 2015 from the Civil Service Retirement
and Disability Fund (CSRDF) to USPS to refund excess Federal Employees
Retirement System contributions to USPS. The proposal also contained a
provision requiring the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefit Fund (PSRHBF) to
outlay the Government’s $3.1 billion share of annuitant health insurance
premiums to former Postal Service employees. In addition, annuity payments made
from the CSRDF were $0.9 billion lower than estimated in the MSR.
- Social Security Administration — Outlays for the Social Security Administration were
$944.1 billion, $2.3 billion lower than the MSR estimate.
difference is primarily attributable to lower-than-expected outlays for the Old
Age and Survivors and Disability Insurance programs.
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation — Net outlays for the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation were -$11.3 billion, $4.9 billion lower than the MSR estimate.
difference was primarily attributable to lower-than-expected payments related
to the corporation’s resolution of failed insured depository institutions
through the Deposit Insurance Fund, which was partially a result of
better-than-expected capital positions among banking institutions.
- United States Postal Service — Outlays for the United States Postal Service were
-$1.6 billion, $1.2 billion higher than the MSR estimate.
were higher than the MSR estimate due largely to Congressional inaction on the
Budget proposal for Postal reform. The Budget proposed to provide USPS with
short-term cash relief, beginning in FY 2015, and to make longer-term
structural reforms to address USPS’s financial imbalance.
- Railroad Retirement Board — Outlays for the Railroad Retirement Board were $8.3
billion, $1.8 billion higher than the MSR estimate, due
largely to the National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust’s unrealized
gains and losses on investments. Actual returns to the Trust were much
lower than projected in the MSR due to unfavorable market conditions in
the last few months of FY 2015.
- Undistributed Offsetting Receipts —Undistributed Offsetting Receipts were -$257.6
billion, $9.7 billion higher than the MSR estimate.
received by trust funds was $4.0 billion greater than the MSR estimate,
reducing net outlays. The difference was due largely to the interest earnings
of the Military Retirement Fund, which were $3.5 billion greater than the MSR
estimate, primarily because of higher-than-expected interest
on inflation-indexed securities held by the fund. This intragovernmental
interest is paid out of the Department of the Treasury account for interest on
the public debt and has no net impact on total Federal government outlays.
from spectrum auctions deposited into the Public Safety Trust Fund were $18.6
billion, $11.0 billion lower than the MSR estimate. The difference was due to
delays in issuance of certain spectrum licenses associated with the Advanced
Wireless Services 3 (AWS-3) spectrum auction, which concluded in January 2015.
The Federal Communications Commission must issue those licenses before depositing
associated auction receipts into the Public Safety Trust Fund, and anticipates
completing that process early in FY 2016.
Receipts for Federal employer share,
employee retirement were $2.8 billion less than the MSR estimate, increasing
net outlays. The difference was largely
the result of Congressional inaction on the 2016 Budget’s proposal for Postal
reform, which includes employer share payments from Postal to the Postal
Retiree Health Benefits Fund.