Budget Process Reform Gets Attention on Capitol Hill

Everyone can recognize that the budget process is broken, but unfortunately not much has been done so far to fix it. Work such as the Peterson-Pew Commission's report, Getting Back in the Black, offers some great solutions for moving forward. It seems that policymakers may finally be waking up to these ideas. Today we will see two interesting developments that may help build momentum for budget process reform in the near future.

First, the House Rules Committee is releasing its "Views and Estimates on the President's Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2012." The Committee's letter states that it agrees with the President's support of policies such as enhanced rescission authority (which got bipartisan support last month and was included in the Getting Back in the Black recommendations as a tool to allow the President to ensure caps on spending are maintained).  The letter goes further, calling on the President to embrace further reform proposals, like biennial budgeting (another effort championed by Senators from both sides of the aisle) and the establishment of a joint select committee on budget process reform.

On the other side of the Capitol, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs's subcommittee will be holding a hearing today at 2:30pm on "Enhancing the President's Authority to Eliminate Wasteful Spending and Reduce the Budget Deficit." CRFB President Maya MacGuineas will be testifying, as well as Dr. Virginia McMurty (Congressional Research Service), Todd Tatelman (Congressional Research Service), and Thomas Schatz (Citizens Against Government Waste). During the hearing, you will be able to watch a live webcast here.

All of these reform efforts would give the President and Congress better tools to enforce fiscal discipline. We are encouraged that these proposals and others, such as discretionary spending caps, are getting more discussion and we will be on the look-out for any momentum these generate toward implementing budget process reform measures.