Mark-Up for Budget Process Reform Legislation

Chairman Paul Ryan
Opening Remarks, As Prepared for Delivery

The purpose of today’s meeting is to mark up legislation aimed at reforming the federal budget process.

There is no question that the budget process is broken. Washington stumbles from budget crisis to budget crisis, with little to no oversight of how government spends hardworking taxpayers’ money.  

Today, it is worth noting that our friends in the U.S. Senate have gone 1,000 days without a budget.  And, we learned yesterday that the President is going to ignore the law and submit his budget request late for the second year in a row.

Last month, I stood proudly with members of this committee – from both sides of the aisle – to offer reforms that would strengthen spending controls, enhance oversight, and increase transparency.

Today, we continue our work of debating and moving some of these common-sense budget reforms out of committee.

We will start with the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act, introduced by my friend Dr. Price. The Pro-Growth Budgeting Act would put greater emphasis on how Washington’s policies impact our economy, requiring CBO to analyze the longer-term economic impact of major pieces of legislation.

The second bill we will mark up is The Baseline Reform Act, offered by my friend Mr. Woodall. The current-law baseline assumes that discretionary spending increases by inflation each year. This reform simply removes the assumed increase, thereby leveling the playing field and removing the pro-spending bias from our budget process.

Third on the agenda, The Budget and Accounting Transparency Act, offered by the Vice Chairman, Mr. Garrett.  This bill would increase transparency and accuracy in budgeting for federal credit programs. All too often, as we found out with Solyndra, when Washington makes a bad bet, taxpayers are left with a costly bill. The bill would also bring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on budget. These enterprises racked up billions in liabilities hidden from the public and taxpayers. Last June, CBO testified that it put the total cost of bailing out these two entities at $296 billion, and that the cost was likely to be even higher.

While we are not going to get to Mrs. Black’s legislation today, her bill to make the budget a law was reported last night by the Rules Committee, thanks to her leadership.

Taken together, these solutions – as well as those we hope to consider in the months ahead – offer concrete steps in the right direction as we seek to get our nation back on track. 

With that, I yield to the Ranking Member, Mr. Van Hollen.