August 13, 2020
Congress Considers Budget Execution Reforms
Fiscal policy debates often focus on the high-level budget decisions Congress makes, with far less attention on how the executive branch subsequently distributes that funding. Nevertheless, some members of Congress have expressed interest in reforming certain elements of the executive branch’s budget execution. In a new insight, AAF’s Director of Fiscal Policy Gordon Gray explains the budget execution process and discusses three modest reforms recently passed by the House of Representatives.
Budget execution is very much the day-to-day business of federal governance. It is performed by professional public servants, largely out of public view. Notwithstanding recent attention to the budgetary practices of the current administration, Congress has slipped its grip on the power of the purse through neglect of its own duties. The budget execution reforms recently passed by the House would modestly improve Congress’s ability to exercise its power over fiscal policy. The upshot of these measures is essentially greater transparency, and closer adherence to the spirit of Article 1. These are worthwhile policies irrespective of the administration.