The President is scheduled to release his proposed budget for FY 2021 on Monday, February 10, 2020. The release of the proposed budget by the Trump Administration will be just one week behind the official required release date for annual budgets, so it becomes the most timely release for this Administration.
Last summer the Congress and the Administration negotiated a two-year budget agreement that replaces the spending targets that had been put in place in 2010. Last summer’s deal set spending levels for the current FY 2020 and this upcoming fiscal year 2021.
The Budget Control Act of 2011 was an agreement between President Obama and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). That agreement set spending limits for each of the next ten years for all of the defense appropriations and set a separate spending limit for all the non-defense appropriations. Importantly it linked the two categories of spending together so that if one cap were raised, the other cap would have to increase. As a result, since 2011, every time there’s been a desired increase in defense spending by the Administration or by Congressional Republicans, it has triggered a negotiated increase in the non-defense portion of the budget.
The President’s FY 2021 budget should be based on last summer’s new spending targets. Non-defense spending can go up to $635 billion for FY 2021. That total is a small increase of $3 billion compared to an increase of approximately $26 billion last year. Defense spending will increase by $3 billion to $741 billion compared to last year’s increase of approximately $22 billion.
It is possible this budget will be below those spending ceilings, and in fact, all the Trump budget proposals have offered up significant cuts in domestic spending. The other unknown is how much the President will propose spending on the Mexico/U.S. border wall. That spending would most likely come out of the non-defense spending category. While members from both parties are likely to call the budget “dead-on-arrival” it will in fact frame much of the appropriations debate over the next six to eight months. Some prognosticators are saying that there will be a continuing resolution for all spending October 1, when the fiscal year starts, to push decisions to either a re-elected administration or a new President.
This budget also ends the Budget Control Act of 2010. Last summer’s budget deal also raises the debt ceiling until July 2021, well into the next presidential term.