Today, Americans for Tax Reform urged Senators to support the Honest Budget Act, unveiled yesterday by Senator Sessions and Senator Snowe. ATR has long highlighted the various ways budget loopholes are exploited to increase spending and grow government – last week we recommended budget reform that could produce hundreds of billions in savings for the "Super Committee." The Honest Budget Act would institute some of these changes, and be a necessary first step in fixing the federal budget process. From ATR's letter of support for the Act:
As the recent federal debt debate highlighted, the budgeting process is in dire need of honesty, transparency, and accountability. This bill prohibits lawmakers from disguising spending increases as spending cuts and encourages members to start producing real savings.
For the past two years, the Democrat-controlled Senate has failed to produce a budget. The Honest Budget Act requires a budget resolution to be passed before appropriations bills can be debated, enforced by a 60-vote threshold.
Lawmakers have also been able to skirt budgetary rules by disguising mundane appropriation requests as “emergency” spending. The Honest Budget Act requires “emergency” designations to be made on the floor by amendment, enforceable by a point of order. This will diminish the exploitation of “emergency” spending, which some estimates show amounted to $1 trillion in the 111th Congress alone.
Click here to read the letter in its entirety.
What do you think? Do you have other suggestions for fixing the broken budget process?