Concept_Scale

Appropriations Process Still Broken

Sep 26, 2018 | Other Spending

For Immediate Release

Congress has passed a minibus appropriations bill containing two of the 12 appropriations bills and a continuing resolution until December 7 covering any appropriations bills that have not yet been passed. The minibus now goes to the President for his signature. Last week, the President signed a separate minibus containing three of the 12 bills. If today’s legislation is signed, five of the 12 appropriations bills will have been passed before the September 30 deadline, representing 75 percent of next year’s base discretionary funding.

The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

We’re pleased policymakers have likely avoided a shutdown and actually appropriated most of this year’s discretionary budget on time. But let’s not forgot that Congress did so without a budget and had to grease the wheels with $153 billion to pass these bills. That isn’t function; it’s a fiscal free-for-all.

With trillion-dollar deficits just around the corner, now is not the time to declare mission accomplished but rather to sound the alarm. Policymakers should not be budgeting by borrowing more; they should put in place a full budget with a plan to bring our borrowing down not up.   

Next year, sequester-level budget caps will return. If lawmakers find these caps too stringent, they should replace them with realistic caps that are fully paid-for rather than debt-financed. They most certainly should not bust the budget and then congratulate themselves as they did this year.

Hopefully, proposed improvements from the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform can lead to a more thoughtful and orderly process; it is more important now than ever that they succeed.

Meanwhile, let’s stop patting ourselves on the back for adding hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit in an orderly manner. Let’s instead work together to stabilize the nation’s finances.

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For more information contact Patrick Newton, press secretary, at newton@crfb.org.