Budget Committee Releases Working Paper on Reclaiming Constitutional Authority Through the “Power of the Purse”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Budget Committee released its first in a series of working papers focused on the Committee’s effort to overhaul the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and reform the congressional budget process. The paper follows a hearing the Committee held on May 25th that examined how Congress has ceded too much of its authority over spending to the Executive Branch and how this trend should be reversed in order to restore the Legislative Branch’s “power of the purse” as defined in Article I of the Constitution.

The working paper focuses on four main themes:

  • Budgeting and Governing
  • Constitutional Authority for the “Power of the Purse”
  • How Current Budget Practices Undermine Congress’s Authority
  • Restoring Constitutional Government

In its opening, the paper notes that there is more at stake than simply the fiscal health of the nation:

“A government’s budgeting system is central to determining the kind of governing system a country has. Hence, a vigorous practice of budgeting is fundamental to Congress’s policymaking authority under Article I of the Constitution…To the extent Congress cedes control of the budget, the Executive Branch – which is independent of Congress – gains power, undermining the Constitution’s carefully drawn balance of powers. The Founders established this constitutional system precisely to prevent such concentrations of power, which would ultimately threaten individual freedoms.”


To learn more about the House Budget Committee’s efforts to reform the congressional budget process, visit budget.house.gov/BudgetProcessReform.