Today, members of the House Budget Committee introduced a package of seven legislative reforms to help repair the broken budget process. Committee members introduced similar legislation during the last Congress, and they brought several of these reforms to the House floor.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan issued the following statement upon release of these reforms:
"I commend my colleagues at the House Budget Committee for advancing common-sense solutions to bring accountability to the federal budget process. These reforms are an important step toward restoring fiscal discipline in Washington.
"I look forward to working with my colleagues on these solutions in the year ahead. By improving the budget process, we can get a better handle on our spending problem. But there is no substitute for the political will necessary to pay down the debt and to expand opportunity for all Americans. That's why the House passed a budget earlier this year that would put in place a plan to balance the budget in ten years to foster a healthier economy and help create jobs."
The budget-process-reform package includes the following bills:
The Legally Binding Budget Act
(Lead sponsor: Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee)
*Gives the budget the force of law by converting it from a concurrent to a joint resolution, which requires the President's signature. Upon a presidential veto, the joint resolution automatically reverts to a concurrent resolution.
The Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act
(Lead sponsors: Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen of Maryland)
*Provides for the expedited consideration by Congress of specific requests by the President to reduce discretionary spending in appropriations legislation.
The Biennial Budgeting and Enhanced Oversight Act
(Lead sponsor: Rep. Reid Ribble of Wisconsin)
*Establishes a biennial budgeting cycle where Congress adopts a budget resolution in the first session of Congress (i.e., odd-numbered years) and considers authorization legislation in the second session, providing greater opportunities for review of government spending.
The Baseline Reform Act
(Lead sponsor: Rep. Rob Woodall of Georgia)
*Reforms the budget "baseline" to remove automatic inflation increases in discretionary accounts, and to require a comparison to the previous year's spending levels.
The Review Every Dollar Act
(Lead sponsor: Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah)
*Requires periodic sunset reviews and reauthorization of all federal programs to ensure the programs perform an appropriate role and are operating effectively.
*Requires all transfers from the general fund to the Highway Trust Fund to be offset or counted as new spending.
*Requires any new rule or regulation promulgated by the administration that includes new spending to be explicitly funded by Congress before such regulations take effect.
*Provides a mechanism through which Members can devote savings from spending bills to deficit reduction.
The Budget and Accounting Transparency Act
(Lead sponsor: Rep. Scott Garrett of New Jersey)
*Reforms the Credit Reform Act to incorporate Fair Value accounting principles.
*Recognizes the budgetary impact of the GSEs by formally bringing the entities on-budget.
*Requires a CBO & OMB study on offsetting receipts/collections/revenues.
*Requires all federal agencies make public the budgetary justification materials prepared in support of their requests for taxpayer dollars.
The Pro-Growth Budgeting Act
(Lead sponsor: Rep. Tom Price of Georgia)
*Requires CBO to provide an assessment of the macroeconomic impact of major legislation.