Repairing the Congressional Budget Process

Research Report

Repairing the Congressional Budget Process

May 1, 2002

Abstract

The paper documents the breakdown in the Congressional budget process since surpluses first emerged in 1998. Spending caps and pay-as-you-go rules have been routinely evaded and the spending targets set in the budget resolution have been exceeded by large amounts. It will not be easy to reinstate a disciplining budget process. Any effort to do so should be motivated by the goal of making the current process more simple and less time consuming. Criteria that should be satisfied in designing a new process are described and specific suggestions are made to guide any reform effort.

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