Federal Budget Reform

Convergence Building a Better Budget Process Project

The Convergence Building a Better Budget Process project (B3P) announces the release of their final proposals for federal budget process reform.

Participants of the B3P project identified five key steps that could help prevent future government shutdowns, reduce budget uncertainty and restore faith in our government.

These proposals were released on February 26th at the Building a Better Budget Summit on Capitol Hill.

Read more:
– Press release
– Summary of the proposals
– Statement by Convergence President Rob Fersh

The final report proposed that a better budget process should include:

1. A Budget Action Plan—negotiated by the President and Congress at the beginning of a new Congress and enacted into law—to synchronize the budget cycle with the electoral cycle and to change expectations for the process. The plan would make certain key fiscal decisions – setting discretionary funding levels and adjusting the debt limit, for example – for a two-year period.

2. A Fiscal State of the Nation Report, published every four years at a key point in the national election cycle, to make the federal budget more accessible to the American public and elevate the discourse about the country’s finances.

3. A review of the performance of portfolios of federal programs that involve long-term or inter-generational commitments (e.g., retirement security, health coverage, education or national security). This review conducted by Congress, through the Government Accountability Office, would reinforce the importance of the long-term effects of budget decisions.

4. Strengthening the Budget Committees by revising the membership rules and assigning responsibility to create new expectations for the budget process so that Congress and the public can expect more timely action on budget decisions.

5. Investment in agencies that support the congressional budget process, including the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), so these institutions can continue to provide high-quality and independent information the nation relies on in making budgetary choices.

Learn more about the project.