Rep. Tom Graves Introduces Bill to Help Fix Washington’s Broken Budget Process
Legislation Requires Zero-Based Budgeting, Reveals True Cost of Social Security
September 22, 2016 -
Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-14) today introduced the Accurate Accounting Act, which would end some of the worst problems with the federal budget process and hold Washington accountable for a complete and accurate assessment of all federal spending.
“Washington’s budget process is broken,” said Rep. Graves. “It’s only worked four times in the past 40 years. We can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result, which is why I introduced this bill. It creates a new, more honest framework in which Washington’s budgeting process would take place. The reforms would help control costs and give Americans a clear view of the country’s financial picture, much of which is hidden by the current budgeting process. While the bill doesn’t fix every problem, it’s an important first step. My hope is that these changes spur far greater reforms that balance the budget and solve our national debt crisis.”
“Washington will never get spending under control unless we have a budget process that works,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), who introduced the Accurate Accounting Act in the Senate earlier this year. “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.”
The Accurate Accounting Act calls for three reforms that address some of the worst problems in the current budget process.
1. Requires Zero-Based Budgeting: The bill requires Executive Branch agencies to rebuild their annual funding requests from scratch and justify expenses – rather than just put forward the same budget with incremental spending increases year after year.
2. Reveals True Cost of Social Security: The legislation ends the firewall between Social Security – the single largest federal expenditure – and the rest of the budget. By ending this firewall, the American people will be able to see the full picture of the country’s finances.
3. Increases Accountability: The bill requires the Government Accountability Office to regularly produce a report on each program operating on autopilot, which will reveal the effectiveness and costs of these programs for the American people.
The State of Georgia started requiring Zero-Based Budgeting in 2012 after enacting legislation championed by Rep. Graves beginning with his introduction of Zero-Based Budgeting legislation in 2009 while he was serving as a state representative.