Budget Committee Releases Working Paper on the Need for Fiscal Goals

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Budget Committee released its third 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 June 15th that examined the need for fiscal goals or targets to build consensus and drive discipline and accountability in the budgeting process

The working paper focuses on six main themes:

  • The Balanced Budget Principle
  • Other Fiscal Norms and Targets
  • Options for Primary Fiscal Goals
  • Secondary Fiscal Target Options
  • How Are Targets Codified?
  • What Are Other Countries Doing?

In its opening, the paper notes that if policymakers are to adopt a standard apart from the historical norm of a balanced budget, then Congress should ensure the new standard is not only fiscally sound but achievable as well:

“For much of America’s early history, the standard was the balanced budget. Since that principle was abandoned, no other norm emerged to take its place, and fiscal policy has been adrift…Whatever standard is defined, it is not enough to be economically and fiscally defensible. It must be politically compelling to ensure a public consensus. The congressional budget process should then be reconstructed to achieve that goal.”


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

Previous working papers: