Congress Urged to Improve Budget Process

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The Senate Budget Committee heard testimony last week on potential changes to the federal budget process that would better take into account the long-term trends affecting the nation’s fiscal health.

Michael Peterson, CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, lamented that the budget process “keeps policy focused on the short term” and “reinforces the tendency to go from crisis to crisis.” He also said the current process “diverts attention from the key drivers of the budget over the long term.”

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum, and Deborah Weinstein, executive director of the Coalition on Human Needs, also testified.  

Holtz-Eakin agreed that the budget process needs to better consider long-term trends and criticized lawmakers for recent “piecemeal reforms that are inadequate to our fiscal challenge.” Weinstein urged that spending cuts not fall disproportionately on programs that help the less fortunate.

Taking proposals from five think tanks participating in his foundation’s Solutions Initiative, Peterson recommended extending the regular budget outlook to 25 years, up from 10 years now, and setting medium- and long-term fiscal goals. (The Concord Coalition receives funding from the Peterson Foundation.)

External links:
Reforming the Budget Process: The Need for Action (Senate Budget Committee)
Peterson Foundation CEO to Discuss Reforms to Encourage Fiscal Sustainability
Debt Crisis and Shutdown Fears Cloud Talk of Budget Reform (Fiscal Times)

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