"The federal budget is central to Congress's ability to exercise its 'power of the purse.' Over the last several fiscal years the imbalance between spending and revenues has grown as a result of the economic downturn and policies enacted in response to financial turmoil. In FY2010, the last completed fiscal year, the U.S. government spent $3,456 billion (23.8% of GDP) and collected $2,162 billion in revenue (14.9% of GDP), resulting in a budget deficit of $1,294 billion (8.9% of GDP). The CBO baseline estimates the FY2011 budget deficit at $1,480 billion or 9.8% of GDP and deficits throughout the 10-year budget window. The deficit is projected to be higher than that of FY2010 due to increases in mandatory spending and restrained growth in revenues as a result of the temporary payroll tax reduction. Under the President's Budget, deficit estimates for FY2011 amount to $1,645 billion or 10.9% of GDP. This is larger than CBO's [Congressional Budget Office] baseline deficit estimate, primarily due to differences in assumptions used relating to funding levels for the remainder of the fiscal year. Congress and the President have yet to complete action on any of the 12 FY2011 regular appropriations acts. As a result, the federal government has been operating on a series of five continuing resolutions since the beginning of the fiscal year. If further budget authority is not provided either through another continuing resolution or regular appropriations acts, a funding gap will occur for those projects and activities that are funded through annual appropriations acts."
CRS Report for Congress, R41685
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