Options for the Federal Budget Process
This fall, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction ("Super Committee") created by the Budget Control Act of 2011 tested the possibility that our fiscal challenges could be met by bypassing the regular process. Its collapse just before Thanksgiving has pointed everyone back to the drawing board. We now must reconsider whether it is possible to reform the regular budget process, to help support those leaders prepared to make the tough choices needed to put the federal budget on a sustainable course.
Last year, the Peterson-Pew Commission detailed a number of proposals for budget process reform in its report Getting Back in the Black. On December 13, 2011 the Commission released papers on four topics: Fiscal Rules and Their Uses, Performance Budgeting, Multi-year Budgeting, and Budgeting for Emergencies.
These four papers, plus one on issues in designing a debt trigger released in response to the President's trigger proposal in April, explore core elements of the Commission's proposed reform agenda. They highlight lessons from recent federal budget experience, from other nations' budget reforms, and from reforms in the U.S. States and discuss the Commission's options in greater depth, presenting variations on its previously recommended options, and exploring the challenges and payoffs of implementing such reforms.
See below for links to the four complete papers, as well as an overview that includes brief summaries of each.