Chairman Enzi: Bipartisan Budget Reforms Can Improve Fiscal Transparency and Accountability
WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a summit focused on ways to fix the nation’s broken budget process, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) today highlighted bipartisan legislation to reform the budget process and encourage bipartisan collaboration in order to tackle our growing debt and deficits. The bill, S.2765, the Bipartisan Congressional Budget Reform Act, would provide a more orderly, deliberative budget process focused on long-term fiscal planning, while also improving fiscal transparency and boosting oversight and accountability.
“One bright spot on our fiscal front is a package of bipartisan budget process reforms that were approved by the Senate Budget Committee late last year,” said Chairman Enzi. “These reforms are the product of years of effort to improve our budget process and represent a good-faith, bipartisan effort to reform our budget process in way that encourages long-term planning, realistic and responsible budget assumptions, and an end to the brinksmanship surrounding our nation’s statutory debt limit. We cannot be content to bury our heads in the sand as our more than $23 trillion debt grows unchecked, swallowing the opportunities of future generations."
Enzi noted the bill works to improve the current budget process in several key ways.
The Bipartisan Congressional Budget Reform Act:
- Ensures Congress has better information on which to base budgets by requiring more active engagement from the tax-writing and spending committees to ensure that every corner of the federal ledger is scrutinized and that budgets are realistic;
- Reorients the budget-writing process from a yearly to a biennial cycle, while maintaining annual appropriations;
- Makes significant reforms to the content of the budget resolution by making discretionary figures easier to identify and amend;
- Highlights mandatory spending on a portfolio basis so that the public can identify trends in federal spending on programs with similar purposes;
- Requires the budget resolution to include a target ratio of debt-to-gross domestic product, which is generally viewed as the best measure of a country’s ability to repay its debt;
- Provides a mechanism to conform our country’s statutory debt limit to the levels in the resolution, which removes the brinksmanship surrounding the country’s ability to borrow and provides a powerful incentive in order to ensure that the targets set in the resolution are attainable;
- Requires the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Government Accountability Office to conduct portfolio reviews of federal spending and tax expenditures to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of federal programs;
- Improves transparency by requiring additional CBO reporting on the accuracy of cost estimates, estimates of appropriations bills, and the interest effects of legislation; and
- Removes one of the major disincentives to bringing a budget to the floor by fixing the process known as “vote-a-rama.”
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