Senator Perdue Introduces Measure to Improve Federal Budgeting

Following up on a Senate floor speech late last month in which he addressed the country’s growing national debt, Georgia Senator David Perdue on Monday introduced the Accurate Accounting Act of 2016. The measure attempts to improve on the federal budget process, which has produced the desired effect of deliberating on and passing 12 appropriation bills each year only four times in the 40 years the measure has been in effect.

The measure has three major effects once it is implemented. It requires zero based budgeting similar to what is used in business, requiring the executive branch to justify its priorities each year. It puts Social Security on the budget resolution, instead of being an off-budget expense. Senator Perdue hopes this will reveal the true cost of the program, instead of being hidden behind a lockbox and trust fund. Finally, the measure increases accountability by requiring the Congressional Budget Office to report annually on every program with appropriations, even those which typically run on autopilot.

In a statement, Senator Perdue said,

Washington will never get spending under control unless we have a budget process that works. Without an honest and accurate assessment of the federal balance sheet, Americans don’t know what the government takes in and what it spends. There should be no hidden trust funds or unaccountable spending programs. We can start addressing this financial mess today by adopting cost-control techniques used readily in the business world. This is the first step to realigning federal spending with the American people’s priorities.

After spending much of his freshman year in the Senate observing how governing differs from running a business, Senator Perdue has said he plans to introduce reform legislation to improve the process. The introduction of the Accurate Accounting Act is the first of these measures.

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Benevolus
Benevolus

Sounds good to me, but if they are going to put Social Security in the budget, they also need to show how much the government owes S.S. as part of that ledger entry: $2.7 trillion.

gcp
gcp

Perdue’s ideas are interesting and are better than Isakson’s useless two-year budgets however Social Security can be reformed without changing the budgeting process.

in 2015 SS cost approximately 895 billion. At the end of 2015 Congress made changes to the “file and suspend” which eventually will save approximately nine billion which is a relatively small amount.

To make SS solvent there must be structural changes such as raising the eligibility age, restricting or eliminating spousal benefits, restricting or eliminating dependent benefits. Such changes are unpopular so many politicians including a few presidential candidates say nothing.

John Konop
John Konop

I agree with you about SS, but politicians are a reflection of the voters, many voters do want want to hear the truth. How we got into the kick the can approach from both sides. Unless we are talking about real reforms with Medicare, SS ie entitlments, is is just BS spin about caring about the budget. The biggest issue is Medicare Part D, which is why I have brought it up so many times. As you know that program alone will BK the country, if we do nothing as baby boomers age.

gcp
gcp

Agree, if nothing is done on SS by 2034 benefits will be cut by 25% but Medicare is a more immediate problem.

bethebalance
bethebalance

nice to see he supports zero-based budgeting, as previously championed by Jimmy Carter. of course, we found out that didn’t work because the administrative burden wasn’t worth it. and research shows it doesn’t matter either when performed annually. there are political benefits to incremental decision-making. but i think research shows there are benefits to doing a ZBB intermittently, like every 4 to 5 years, for a given program/agency. so you can rotate the ZBB around the various agencies to reduce burden but still get the benefits.

bethebalance
bethebalance

as for off-budget expenses, SS is far from the only one. to name one, all the defense spending that has gotten pushed through off-budget should also be on-budget.

gcp
gcp

All Defense is on-budget now. DOD 2017 asks for 582.7 billion total with 523.9 in base budget and 58.8 in overseas contingency operations. Congress will likely have a higher total request.

bethebalance
bethebalance

this is something that has occurred under obama administration for its own preferences; it is not a codified budget procedure.

gcp
gcp

And we would likely agree that defense should be on-budget under all administrations

bethebalance
bethebalance

yes, i guess the underlying question for me is if defense spending is not included, why not? i have not read the bill (i couldn’t find the text posted with a quick search: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/2513/text?resultIndex=1), so unsure if entirely omits defense spending, but the focus is clearly on SS. and if defense not included, it raises questions of fairness of thoughtfulness in the budget procedure, and also raises the specter of the dubious supplementary budgets which funded iraq and afghanistan under bush 43.