Federal Budget Reform

Convergence Building a Better Budget Process Project

Watch Project Manager Mike Veselik discuss the B3P proposals on Government Matters.

Release of the Convergence Building a Better Budget Process project (B3P) proposals on February 26 generated immediate media attention and interest on Capitol Hill. Days before the report was released, Congress agreed to take up this issue when it included a provision in the 2018 federal spending bill creating a new Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform. B3P members applauded the creation of the Committee and immediately took steps to bring their proposals before committee members.

The Committee invited B3P to testify about their proposals at a hearing on May 9th. B3P members Matt Owens from the Association of American Universities and Emily Holubowich from the Coalition for Health Funding spoke to the Committee. They shared B3P’s recommendations and highlighted how the Convergence process helped them reach consensus despite their significant differences on policy issues. Convergence President Rob Fersh also submitted written testimony. B3P stakeholders believe that their proposals offer practical, politically realistic recommendations to improve the process Congress uses to manage the $4 trillion annual federal budget.

Watch the hearing here.

B3P released their recommendations earlier in the year at the first ever Better Budget Process Summit sponsored by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Covered live on C-SPAN, the Summit also featured remarks by the leading budget reform experts, political scientists, and Members of Congress who discussed their reform ideas and how best to move them forward.

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.

Read more:
Press release on the B3P recommendations
Final Report summary
Statement by Convergence President Rob Fersh

Read our May op ed on federal budget process reform in The Hill and other significant coverage:

Blogs: Ideas + Practice from the Hewlett Foundation, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Infrastructure Report Card, Three reasons to be optimistic about budget process reform

About the project
Each passing year brings new evidence of the need to repair the process for managing the $4 trillion U.S. budget. Budget resolutions and spending bills narrowly pass, often very late, with lukewarm promises of hammering out priorities in the following budgeting cycle. It has been more than 20 years since all appropriations bills were passed prior to the beginning of the fiscal year. With so many missed deadlines and little attention paid to longer-term budget priorities and oversight, it is obvious the process needs to change.

Beginning in November 2016, Convergence Building a Better Process (B3P) project engaged an unexpected coalition of budget experts, advocates, and executives who are deeply affected by the budget decisions Congress makes each year. Together this group, which reflects a wide set of ideologies and interests, developed practical, politically realistic proposals to improve the process Congress uses to manage its budget. The B3P project released their recommendations at the Better Budget Process Summit organized by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget in Washington, DC in February 2018… Read more