This week, Congressman Mick Mulvaney (SC-05) introduced the Balancing Our Obligations for the Long-Term (BOLT) Act of 2011 as part of a comprehensive set of ten reform bills that strengthen spending controls, enhance oversight of government spending and bring honest accounting to Washington's broken budget process.
"One of the most frustrating--and disappointing--lessons I've learned about Congress since I arrived here about a year ago is the simple truth that Washington doesn't know how to count," Congressman Mulvaney said. "If we tried to run a private business using the same accounting methods that the government uses, we'd likely end up in jail. This has brought us to a place where our spending and debt levels are unsustainable."
"The BOLT Act is our effort to force future Congresses to balance our Long-Term obligations," Congressman Mulvaney continued. "It will require, amongst other things, that budgets offered by both Congress and the President include long-term projections of revenues, spending, and debt--outside of the typical 10-year window. It will require that the CBO add long-term cost analyses to all proposed legislation. And it will require that the CBO put our unfunded liabilities front and center so that we are forced to deal with them. With hard spending limits, sequestrations, and other rules, the bill will force Congress to face these issues square on."
"They say that the first step toward any recovery is admitting that you have a problem," Mulvaney added. "And the problem with the way we count is that it gives elected representatives too many opportunities to stick their heads in the sand and pretend nothing is wrong. The BOLT Act will force Congress to get its head out of the sand, and to deal with the real world."
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (WI-1) praised Congressman Mulvaney's work to undertake budget reform in Congress:
"Congressman Mulvaney's leadership in moving this critical budget process reform forward is exactly the kind of example Washington needs more of. This reform is part of a larger package of bills that together create a comprehensive budget process reform aimed at fixing the way Washington spends money. Currently, the incentives are stacked against those like Congressman Mulvaney who want to control spending and ensure America tackles head-on the crushing burden of debt that is slowing economic growth today and threatening economic prosperity tomorrow. Lurching from budget crisis to budget crisis is no way to govern, and Congressman Mulvaney's Balancing Our Obligations for the Long-Term Act of 2011 is a positive step in the right direction towards an honest and full accounting of the federal budget. When Washington can be honest about the true size and scope of our fiscal problems, only then can we engage in a much-needed debate over the nation's fiscal future and what kind of country we want to hand down to our kids and grandkids."
The Balancing Our Obligations for the Long-Term (BOLT) Act of 2011
Caps total spending over the long term to reduce the burden of government to no more than 20 percent of the economy by gradually reducing spending.
Requires Congress to review long-term budget trends every five years and provides a fast-track legislative process to put federal spending on a sustainable path.
Authorizes reconciliation of long-term savings (beyond the current limit of the budget resolution's typical 10-year window, up to 75 years) in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
Requires CBO long-term estimates beyond the 10-year window.
Requires the President's budget to extend beyond the 10-year window.
Strengthens the statutory requirement directing the President to submit legislation to save Medicare if the general fund subsidy to the program exceeds 45 percent of the program's costs.
Requires GAO and OMB to report annually on the federal government's unfunded obligations.