Federal Budget Reform

Convergence Building a Better Budget Process Project

Convergence convened the Building a Better Budget Process Project (B3P) in November 2016 to address the often dysfunctional federal budget process.

Twenty-three ideologically diverse stakeholders representing an array of interests reached consensus on five practical, politically realistic proposals to improve the process that Congress uses to manage the $4 trillion annual budget.

Released in February 2018, the proposals received considerable attention on Capitol Hill. The proposals were presented at a Congressional hearing that May, although, ultimately, Congress took no action on budget process reform before the end of the session. Several pieces of legislation introduced in the current Congress contain B3P ideas and, if enacted, could help ensure that the budget process functions more effectively.


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Project Summary   

The Building a Better Budget Process project began with more than 100 interviews to discuss how stakeholders were affected by the federal budget process. Previously, efforts at reform had not included the people who work on behalf of groups affected by the budget process such as children, the elderly, and veterans, or recipients of federal funds such as universities and state and local governments. Each interview yielded valuable information about how the process could be improved to better support the constituencies these and other groups represent. From those interviews, 24 stakeholders were invited to participate in a dialogue.

After 16 months and 14 meetings of dialogue focused on fostering relationships and generating creative solutions, stakeholders of the B3P project identified for a better budget process and five key reforms to improve the transparency, predictability, and comprehensiveness of the budget process.

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