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.