Researcher and Writer in Washington, DC

Posts in category Budget

We might actually get budget reform this y...

We might actually get budget reform this year

This past week, Congress held another hearing on budget reform. Two former budget committee chairmen, Leon Panetta and David Obey, both testified. They lamented the current state of congressional budgeting and identified aspects of the 1974 Budget Act that discourage fiscally responsible and timely annual budgeting. Readers might be tempted to shrug this off as a non-event. “Elected officials […]

Voters Hold Officials Accountable for Deficits in Many Countries. Just Not He...

Voters Hold Officials Accountable for Deficits in Many Countries. Just Not Here.

Wouldn’t it be nice if voters punished politicians who increase budget deficits? Well, according to one research paper, they do. Adi Brender (Bank of Israel) and Allan Drazen (University of Maryland) crunched data from 23 nations on budgets and the electoral fortunes of chief executives. Their unambiguous finding was that “increased deficits during an incumbent’s […]

How to Put the “Most Complete and Effectual Weapon” Back in Their Ha...

How to Put the “Most Complete and Effectual Weapon” Back in Their Hands

Indubitably, our nation’s finances are a mess. America has run deficits 36 of the past 40 years. The national debt is $18 trillion, and it has tripled as a percentage of GDP since 1974. Each February, the President rolls out his budget—a collection of tomes loaded with tables and text attempting to explain the government’s […]

Yesterday We Talked About Congress Reclaiming the Power of the Purse — a ...

Yesterday We Talked About Congress Reclaiming the Power of the Purse — a Bit

I co-direct the Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group, a nonpartisan gathering of scholars and congressional staff that aims to “make Congress great again.” We meet each month on the Hill to discuss aspects of congressional capacity, and to commission and produce research on the subject. So, obviously I was REALLY delighted to be invited to […]

Testimony before Congress on Restoring the Power of the Pu...

Testimony before Congress on Restoring the Power of the Purse

On December 1, 2016, I testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform’s Committee’s  Subcommittee on Government Operations and Healthcare, Benefits, and Administrative Rules. The topic was Congress and the power of the purse, with a focus on executive agencies discretion to expend fees. My written testimony is here. Video of my testimony as delivered […]

Inappropriate Appropriati...

Inappropriate Appropriations

Congress spent $310 billion last year on some 250 agencies and programs that were no longer — as required under the law and Congress’s own rules — authorized to receive and spend funds. This problem of “expired authorizations” has grown with the ever-expanding size of government; and it contributes to that expansion by undoing long-established […]

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