The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

OMB: House Spending Bills Over Statutory Spending Caps Bust the Statutory Caps

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact

In a sequestration report released on August 19, 2016, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) found that the fiscal year (FY) 2017 appropriations bills in the House are $792 million over the discretionary caps.  If signed into law, the spending bill would result in across-the-board spending cuts to enforce the statutory cap if a stopgap funding measure is not agreed to.

In its estimation, OMB found that the House’s spending bills exceed the defense spending cap by $17 million and the nondefense spending cap by $775 million.  The OMB report notes that the Senate is in compliance with the 2017 spending levels; the spending bills are under the caps by $197 million and $2 billion for defense and nondefense spending, respectively. 

Overspending is too familiar to the House of Representatives, and the Senate, too, for that matter.  Last August, OMB reported that the House’s FY 2016 spending bills exceeded spending caps by $1.8 billion, and the Senate’s spending bills overran the caps by $1 million.  In December, though, both chambers were able to pass a spending package (the infamous “Omnibus”) that was within the statutory spending limit.

So it can be done.  Assuming there is the discipline (and political will) to do so.  Unfortunately, those are big “ifs.”


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