The Truth Can Help Set Us Free of Debt

Add another solid idea to the growing list of proposals to help improve federal budgeting and put the country on a sustainable fiscal course. Representatives Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and Charles Djou (R-HI) yesterday introduced the Truth in Spending Act (H.R. 5954).

The new bill is a modest, yet important, step towards more fiscal accountability in Washington. It recognizes that while cost estimates of legislation from the Congressional Budget Office are objective and represent the best effort to project future costs, predicting the budgetary impact of a bill many years from now is tricky business.

The bill requires the Office of Management and Budget to review cost estimates of legislation five and ten years after it has been enacted. If the costs are higher or savings lower than initially projected, Congress must rectify the discrepancy through a fast-track legislative process. The measure also covers legislation adopted since 2005.

Giffords and Djou explained in The Hill, “We can get a handle on the federal deficit by putting teeth into the cost estimates that legislation is built upon.” It will take a lot more to overcome the mounting debt, but this a good step in the right direction. CRFB applauds the two Members and their over 30 co-sponsors for this thoughtful idea and we hope more lawmakers will follow suit in advancing specific solutions to improve our budget process and fiscal outlook.