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Photo: Paul Zinken/picture alliance via Getty Images

More than half of federal spending will soon be dedicated to seniors, according to the latest estimates from Congress’ official budget scorekeeper.

Why it matters: That spending will be driven largely by the steadily rising cost of health care. And futzing around the edges of the system won’t change that trend.

Between the lines: Medicare and Social Security alone cost the federal government roughly $1.3 trillion last year, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s latest estimates.

  • CBO expects those two programs to reach $2.7 trillion by 2029.
  • Throw in a handful of other programs that Congress funds each year, and federal spending on people over 65 is expected to account for more 10% of the total U.S. economy in a decade.
  • Once you subtract the money the government spends on interest payments on the debt, programs for seniors would take up 50% of all remaining spending.

Aging baby boomers and rising health care costs are the main drivers of that spending. Per-person health care costs "are projected to grow faster than the economy over the long term," CBO said.

Go deeper ... Sign of the times: An adult diaper boom

Go deeper

Biden Cabinet confirmation schedule: When to watch hearings

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Jan. 16 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

The first hearings for President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet nominations begin on Tuesday, with testimony from his picks to lead the departments of State, Homeland and Defense.

Why it matters: It's been a slow start for a process that usually takes place days or weeks earlier for incoming presidents. The first slate of nominees will appear on Tuesday before a Republican-controlled Senate, but that will change once the new Democratic senators-elect from Georgia are sworn in.

Kamala Harris resigns from Senate seat ahead of inauguration

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Photo: Mason Trinca/Getty Images

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris submitted her resignation from her seat in the U.S. Senate on Monday, two days before she will be sworn into her new role.

What's next: California Gov. Gavin Newsom has selected California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to serve out the rest of Harris' term, which ends in 2022.

3 hours ago - World

Putin foe Navalny to be detained for 30 days after returning to Moscow

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Photo: Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been ordered to remain in pre-trial detention for 30 days, following his arrest upon returning to Russia on Sunday for the first time since a failed assassination attempt last year.

Why it matters: The detention of Navalny, an anti-corruption activist and the most prominent domestic critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has already set off a chorus of condemnations from leaders in Europe and the U.S.