RENACCI, QUIGLEY INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN BILL TO REFORM FEDERAL BUDGET12/15/11
Legislation ends deceptive accounting practices and increases accountability
WASHINGTON—Yesterday, U.S. Representatives Jim Renacci (R-OH) and Mike Quigley (D-IL) introduced H.R. 3669, The Budget Process Improvement Act of 2011, bipartisan legislation to end deceptive federal accounting practices and bring much-needed transparency and accountability to billions of dollars in annual spending.
The federal budget process only requires bills to be deficit neutral over ten years, so currently Congress can hide spending in the eleventh year and create a major deficit problem down the road. The Budget Process Improvement Act of 2011 closes that loophole and others. The bill is the latest piece of legislation developed through a series of ongoing bipartisan working group meetings and it has broad support from both Democrats and Republicans.
“In the 11 months since I took office it has become abundantly clear to me that our budget process is broken and in need of serious reform,” said Rep. Renacci. “Our bipartisan bill will prevent the type of Washington gimmicks Ohioans have grown increasingly tired of. In doing so, it will give all Americans a clearer and more realistic picture of how and where the federal government spends their tax dollars.”
“Addressing our debt crisis is impossible without an honest budget and accurate accounting of federal spending,” said Rep. Quigley. “This bill proves that bipartisanship is necessary and possible when those on both sides of the aisle are willing to work together to promote common sense policies and ensure a solvent federal government for future generations.”
Co-sponsors of this bipartisan legislation include John Carney (D-DE), a co-founder of the bipartisan working group, as well as Reps. Larry Buschon (R-IN), Jim Himes (D-CT), Bill Owens (D-NY), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), and Daniel Webster (R-FL). A copy of the bill text can be found here.
"As a former Secretary of Finance in Delaware, I was astonished when I arrived in Congress and learned about all the various tricks and gimmicks used in federal budgeting," said Rep. Carney. "This bipartisan legislation enacts simple but effective changes to the budget process and makes it more transparent to ensure that lawmakers and constituents have a clear understanding of the true costs of proposals and programs so that we can get our fiscal house in order."
“Over the years, reckless spending habits and budget gimmicks have brought us to this critical moment in history where we face a job-crippling national debt. It is with cooperation, not partisan politics, that we can move forward to inject common-sense solutions into the broken budget process. I thank the bipartisan group of lawmakers who have come together in a collaborative spirit to introduce the Budget Process Improvement Act. The common-sense reforms in this bill will foster greater accountability, greater transparency, and simplify the budget process,” said Rep. Webster.
H.R. 3669 requires the government to accurately account for all budget liabilities, establishes a performance review process to scrutinize the tax code’s proliferation of tax breaks and loopholes, and moves to a biennial budget process to facilitate more responsible long-term planning at federal agencies. Provisions will reform deceptive accounting practices that hide ‘off-budget’ spending and establish the first effective oversight of tax expenditures, tax breaks that resulted in $1.2 trillion in essentially unaccountable spending in 2009.
Those highlights and others include:
- Requires the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) to analyze the second decade budget impact for any bill that they score for Congress.
- Requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to issue an annual report examining our unbudgeted fiscal exposures (such as Fannie and Freddie).
- Requires the Treasury Department, in consultation with OMB and the policy-relevant federal agency, to issue performance reviews of each tax expenditure at least once every four years.
- Implements a Government Accountability Office recommendation that an accrual accounting system be developed to apply to certain areas of the budget including retirement benefits and environmental liabilities.
- Requires CBO, in consultation with JCT, to issue a report projecting revenues over the next decade.
- Establishes a biennial budgeting process.
Rep. Renacci is serving his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he is a member of the Financial Services Committee. Prior to his election he worked as a Certified Public Accountant in the health care industry, and owned and operated over 60 other businesses in the automotive and sports management fields.
Rep. Quigley is currently serving his second term in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he sits on the House Committees on the Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform. He is also the Ranking Member for the Subcommittee on TARP, Financial Services, and Bailouts of Public and Private Programs. A co-founder of the bipartisan Transparency Caucus, he also introduced a landmark transparency bill that would bring unprecedented access and accountability to government.
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