Dr. Boozman's Check-up

We are fighting to end accounting tricks and budget gimmicks to rein in spending and get our fiscal house in order with by supporting the Honest Budget Act.

This is a 9-part legislative package to put an end to some of Congress’ most blatant and dishonest budget gimmicks. Since 2005 alone, the gimmicks addressed in the bill have enabled more than $350 billion in deficit spending while fostering a wider culture of fiscal irresponsibility. The Honest Budget Act is a crucial step towards making Washington more responsible—and more accountable—with how it spends taxpayer dollars.

Gimmick Fixes In The HBA:

  • Make it harder to move appropriation bills unless a budget resolution is already in place;
  • Tighten the process for adding the “emergency” designation to spending measures, an often-abused method for avoiding the fiscal restraints imposed by the budget resolution;
  • Improve current law by measuring the cost of loan and loan guarantee programs using a market default risk rate that reflects the loans’ fair value;
  • Adopt a rule that would prevent scoring rescissions of budget authority as savings unless they produce actual cash savings in the budget window;
  • Prevent changes in mandatory spending programs from being used as budgetary savings in discretionary (non-mandatory) spending bills;
  • Establish a new scoring rule that would prohibit the use of timing shifts for the purposes of producing phony budget savings;
  • Make President Obama’s two-year federal pay freeze real by eliminating automatic within-grade step increases through the end of 2012;
  • Require transfers from the General Fund to bail out the Highway Trust Fund to be scored as new spending. Since 2008, turning a blind eye has led to $35 billion in transfers that were scored as “budget neutral”; and
  • Prevent abuse of advance appropriations by reinstating the budget point of order limiting Congress’ ability to defer increased spending to future years in order to make room for more immediate needs in the current year (and then argue later that the spending limits in subsequent years should be raised to accommodate the deferred spending).

Members in the House introduced companion legislation on Tuesday and I was happy to join my colleagues in both chambers to show my support for this bill in a press conference Wednesday.

Read the following story published in the Times Record about the Honest Budget Act and our call for passage. - Arkansas Lawmakers Back ‘Honest’ Budgets