Ten Things to Look for in the Upcoming Budgets

As we come closer and closer to the season changing to spring, it's also close to budget season. Both the House and Senate Budget Committee chairs -- Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), respectively -- are expected to release budget resolutions tomorrow, with mark-ups taking place later this week. Meanwhile the President's budget, delayed due to the late resolution of the fiscal cliff, is expected to be released on April 8.

With that in mind, CRFB has put out "Ten Things to Look for in Upcoming Budget Resolutions," a list of what we would like to see in the budgets. The criteria both have to do with what would make for a good budget on its own and also for how it could help pave the way for bipartisan compromise. The size, scope, and nature of a plan will have a lot to do with how successful it would be at balancing our short-term and long-term economic challenges in a politically viable way.

The ten things we would like to see are:

  • Put the debt on a downward path relative to the economy
  • Include serious entitlement reforms
  • Include pro-growth tax reform
  • Specify a process to enact spending cuts and entitlement and tax reforms
  • Put all areas of the budget on the table for discussion
  • Focus on the long-term
  • Avoid untenable savings targets
  • Address, don’t ignore, expected policy changes
  • Avoid budget gimmicks
  • Demonstrate a willingness to compromise on a bipartisan basis

As we say in our release:

With sequestration already in effect as of March 1st and the debt limit looming in the summer, these budget resolutions represent an opportunity to refocus the budget debate on fiscal sustainability. Hopefully, policymakers on the respective Budget Committees and lawmakers in both chambers of Congress will produce deficit reduction plans that adhere to these guidelines. If they do, it will make the process for reaching an agreement that much easier, making our economic and budgetary future brighter.