November 20, 2023

ICYMI: Chairman Arrington, Budget Process Reform Task Force Chair Yakym: "We Must Change Washington’s Broken Budget Process"

Following the launch of our Committee’s Budget Process Reform Task Force, Task Force Chair Rudy Yakym (R-IN) and House Budget Committee Chairman Arrington published an op-ed in the Washington Examiner outlining why we need meaningful change in the budget process and their ideas for how to bring responsibility, transparency, and accountability into the equation.

Word on the Street

Via Washington Examiner:

  • “America’s long-term future—the strength of our economy, the health of our democracy, our standing in the world itself—rests on our ability to tackle our fiscal challenges. This generational problem is made worse by the inability of Congress to abide by even the most basic budgetary disciplines.”
  • “By establishing the Budget Process Reform Task Force, the House Budget Committee has a unique opportunity to tackle this issue head on and fundamentally change the way the government spends tax dollars and transform a set of archaic guidelines that are no match for today’s polarized environment.
  • “Today, there are no consequences for missing deadlines to produce a budget framework. The process has been used by both parties in recent years to advance their respective partisan agendas and bypass supermajority requirements in the Senate. Our task force will look at ways to make the budget process more about setting actual budgets and achieving responsible budget outcomes rather than reducing it to just another procedural tool to jam through an unrelated partisan agenda.” 
  • “It is also clear that the timing of the appropriations process is unrealistic. The work starts too late and congressional leaders give up on it too early. The task force will assess the following: Is there a more streamlined, straightforward way to fund the government on an annual basis? How can we start the process earlier in the year? How can we avoid continuing resolutions and the uncertainty they cause?”
  • “Process reform is by no means a panacea for our broader fiscal problems nor is it a guarantee of finding common ground. If anything, we hope to foster more debate about the size, scope, and spending of the federal government. Stripping away the unrelenting dysfunction will make it easier to ultimately resolve our differences, address our growing financial imbalance, and do the work the public elected us to do.”

The Big Picture

Washington’s budget process is BROKEN.

Since the enactment of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, Congress has not passed a budget on time in over 25 years, the national debt has surpassed $33.7 trillion, and controls on new spending and deficits are continually delayed or waived. 

The only consistency about our federal government’s budgeting process is its consistent failure. 

The budget process will only continue to yield bad results and incentivize bad behavior until the root causes are addressed – including the nation’s runaway debt. Under the leadership of Task Force Chair Yakym and Committee Chairman Arrington, the Budget Process Reform Task Force will lead the House Budget Committee’s work on ways to fix the broken budget process and examine ways to increase transparency, accountability, and responsibility in the budget process and fiscal decision-making. 

The Bottom Line

As James Madison said, “a public debt is a public curse.” 

Our nation’s staggering $33.7 trillion debt is not only a curse but a threat to the fiscal security of our nation. And the prosperity and opportunity that make America exceptional. It must be addressed before it robs future generations of Americans of the blessings of liberty. 

The Budget Process Reform Task Force will lead the Committee’s work on fixing Washington’s broken budget process, examining ways to increase transparency, accountability, and responsibility in fiscal decision-making within Congress to bring our out-of-control federal debt back down to earth.