Proposed Budget Process Changes Are Too Risky

With the budget resolution appearing to be stalled in the Congress, attention may soon turn to changing the overall budget process.

Some conservative members have proposed a bill (H.R. 3800, "Family Budget Protection Act of 2004") that would fundamentally alter the playing field for crafting a budget in the Congress. Other budget process bills (such as H. R. 3973, "Spending Control Act of 2004) include some of the components of the broader bill.

Each of these bills forsakes budget responsibility by abandoning the process that led to surpluses in the 1990s, and instead twists the system in order to pursue a conservative agenda. The proposed changes would have the effect of biasing the system towards corporate and individual tax cuts, towards military spending, and away from domestic programs. To take two examples of proposed changes, the reforms would exempt tax cuts from offset requirements while requiring new entitlements to be paid for only with program cuts; and they would allow funds to be shifted from domestic programs to military spending, but not the reverse.

With a budget deficit forecast to be in the range of a half trillion dollars this year alone, now is not the time to experiment with risky, untested and undisciplined budget rules.

For more details on the effects of proposed changes to the process, including changes to PayGo rules, see:

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