November 28, 2018
The Hill: Keep Your Expectations in Check When it Comes to Budget Reform
The select congressional committee on budget process reform has until Friday to report a process reform package to the full Congress, but we should moderate our expectations for what they can accomplish, argues AAF’s Director of Fiscal Policy Gordon Gray in a new op-ed in The Hill.
Many fiscal policy observers often look to changes to the budget process to get better outcomes when it comes to the deficit, but that is a mistake. The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 set up the modern budget process, but those decades old rules have done little to constrain the appetite of politicians to deliver on campaign promises. No candidate seems to run on raising taxes and cutting entitlements….
Instead, the current process reform effort in Congress, as reflected in the work of the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform, should be modest in its ambitions and evaluated accordingly. Lawmakers should form process solutions to fix process problems. Fundamentally, those problems are the routine abandonment of the legislative resolution as a budget, the failure to enact standard full year appropriations, and regular tomfoolery with respect to the debt limit.