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House Votes to Fix the Broken Budget Process
Posted by Randy | February 07, 2012
People frequently ask me what initial steps we can take to turn our nation’s fiscal course. My answer: fix the broken budget process.

The Pro-Growth Budgeting Act that the House of Representatives passed last week – with my support – is an important step in that direction. Currently, the economic model the Congressional Budget Office uses to score legislative proposals assumes current law will remain unchanged over the course of the fiscal period scored and does not take economic growth into account.  The Pro-Growth Budgeting Act would require the Congressional Budget Office to complete a supplemental macroeconomic analysis for legislation with an estimated budgetary impact of 0.25 percent of gross domestic product (approximately $39 billion in 2012) and greater.   This will help account for important fiscal factors of proposals such as reducing the deficit, paying down the debt, and keeping tax rates low. 

Most importantly, the legislation would force lawmakers to see beyond Washington’s bottom line and look at how their actions may directly affect the real economy and the lives of the American people when it comes to economic growth and job creation.

The Budget Act of 1974 created the current congressional budget process, under which Congress each year is supposed to develop a budget resolution that sets revenue and spending targets for the next fiscal year.  Last year represented the sixth time since 1998, and the third time in the past six years, that Congress was unable to reach agreement on a budget.

It’s time to restore accountability, responsibility, and honesty to the budget process.

Read more about the legislation here.
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  • Thomas G commented on 2/7/2012
    I understand you have already supported this reform, however, don't you think it would have been helpful for the CBO to at least recalcuate past analysis using this formula so we know exactly how useful this might be? My deepest reservation here is applying yet another static calculation to what is certainly a dynamic economic model. I understand the desire, worry about how it will be politicized, and you know congressman that you will do so, and I question the impact of political decisions on this theory. For example, just today you posted concern regarding a contract held by General Dynamics for some time that will now be awarded under the GSA umbrella. But the facts sir are that the performance based contracting you supported and driven by the Bush administration never delivered the cost savings you promised. In fact a study was done that revealed this policy actually cost the tax payers an addition 600 BILLION dollars!!! Not only was it a failed economic model, but countless articles have been published indicated that nobody really knows how to even write those contracts. It did NOT deliver as argued, and the lack of GSA oversight most glaringly led to very poor contract management. The tax payers actually benefit far more from the GSA formula. It is disturbing congressman, this practice of yours that continuously hides from the public essential truths you deliberately omit. The public sees through this sir and you need to stop this short-sighted practice immediately...it is intellectually dishonest and I believe you know it. It is also notable that you receive a majority of your campaign contributions from the defense industry, a fact that is well known publically. Don't you think it might have been useful to at least disclose what, if any contributions you received from General Dynamics, and any company you specifically mention on this blog, as a matter of courtesy to the constituents. I'm not suggesting wrongful involvement, just openness sir. As far as the jobs that may be at risk, under the GSA management formula as the work moves from contractor to contractor the vast majority, and sometimes 100% of the employees are picked up by a new contractor. Often times this results in the workers receiving an upward compensation offer from the new entity. This may be good for some workers, though it can backfire too. But frankly, in a situation like this it would seem that simply converting the work, federalizing it would save even more allowing us to squeeze out the profit that General Dynamics is now receiving, a tax payer benefit certainly. In fact, studies have been done sir that doing so in matters just like this is exactly what should happen instead of using contractors. Finally, nothing prevented General Dynamics for competing with others for the GSA competitive pool. You see sir, we really need more information from you to evaluate your position, and based on all these considerations you position is one of more spend spend spend and not one that is fiscally responsible at all.
  • thomas g commented on 2/8/2012
    One of the greatest budget control actions would be for congressman Forbes to do what the republican congressman from Virginia Beach just did, and that is to rescind his involvement in the Grover Norquist 'No New Taxes' blackmail pledge. He did that because it is important to act for the country when it is so obvious that along with spending cuts revenue MUST be part of the equation moving forward. I wish that congressman Forbes would act in kind as the overwhelming majority of the public are disgusted with the continued support for millionaires and billionaires and obstructionist politics that is harming this great nation. Congressman Forbes, please, jettison the noose that is the Grover Norquist pledge so you can proceed with sound stewardship of the nation's economy and not perpetual support for policy that has failed miserably and been widely discredited by authorities far better to evaluate the damage than what you have proclaimed on this blog. We sent you to congress with a balanced budget and you have helped to create an astonishing 7.5 TRILLION dollars in new debt just in the first 8 years of your tenure aligning with the election of President Bush. You didn't even show up to vote for the middle class payroll tax cut extension. That betrayal speaks volumes to the constituency sir.
  • Robert Holder commented on 2/9/2012
    As a former Army Corps of Engineers Employee, I can attest to the fact that performance based contracting is not an effective tool at all, but in most situations is in a fact a fraudulent program based on influence peddling by large contractors who have the power to influence the award of contracts based on fraudlent bid exceptions, and numerous other non-compliant bidding submissions. I witnessed the administration of two contracts at a U.S Army Fort that were the poorest quality work and management by a contractor in the 30 years I have been in business, and the Army Corps stood by and could not, would not issue any punitive deficiency reports because of political pressure from the command. So, again as we try and save money at the Government level, the Congress can not even manage its own non existent budget let alone manage it at the DOD level.
  • Thomas G commented on 2/10/2012
    To Robert: That is a very revealing testimony and you are not alone when it comes to experiencing first hand the terrible state of performance based contracting. I recently read a report that of all the wide variety of service and products involved in this method of contracting that the ONLY area that led to lower cost was landscape maintenance! Not only was oversight utterly incompetent, but there was no time for it anyway. These contracts not only failed to reduce cost, but they ushered in poor performance that left many people utterly shocked shaking their heads. It just killed morale, destroyed a sense of teamwork and shared vision and left a HUGE void that GSA filled helping to keep all parties happy, honest and focused. On this issue, congressman Forbes has no idea what he is even talking about.
  • Thomas G commented on 2/13/2012
    Wonderful news regarding the Navy's decision to cancel the plan to move a CVN to Mayport that came from the Bush administration. That truly was an enormous waste of money and given that president Obama has gotten us out of Iraq and bin Laden now history a move like this did not make sense. I congratulate the Virginia delegation in making the case for what made national sense. It sure would be interesting to share with the voters the key provisions in argument for the move in the first place. I must admit that I was not optimistic this would be the outcome. On the other hand the current administration also succeeded in ending the plan to build the same jet engine in two different states. I hope that as we continue to restructure defense spending that we continue to weigh the national interest objectively and not choose to throw money away in other areas. A billion dollar deposit toward sanity is welcome, as would be a sensible restructuring of the tax rates of millionaires and billionaires to restore fiscal sanity across the board. I hope we can count on congressman Forbes to support this as well, so as not to completely squander the excellent step forward with the Navy's just decision.
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