November 13, 2019
Reviewing The Bipartisan Congressional Budget Reform Act
While there is sharp disagreement about how to solve the federal budget challenge, policymakers on both sides of the aisle broadly agree that Congress’s budgeting process needs reform. The Bipartisan Congressional Budget Reform Act, which the Senate Budget Committee recently passed, would make several modest but valuable changes to this process, contends AAF’s Director of Fiscal Policy Gordon Gray. While the budget process should not dictate budgetary outcomes, it should channel debate into an orderly process, and this bill moves the current process in that direction, Gray writes.
The Act is the first major process reform reported out of the committee since 1990 and offers a meaningful improvement in how Congress goes about its budgeting business. Broadly, the Act improves the budget calendar, formally institutionalizing the recent practice of two-year budgeting while creating new mechanisms that could, should Congress so choose, reduce some of the risk of budget-driven crises such as shutdowns and defaults on the debt limit. The Act did not settle long-running disagreements about the size of government, the right level of taxation, or what the nation’s spending priorities should be. Instead, the Act should make the job of grappling with those issues more productive – and help keep the trains running along the way.