which we have debated and which got a very strong vote â€” it came
within four votes in the Senate, and I believe five votes in the
House of Representatives â€” is an indication of a continuing and, I
believe, growing concern about this problem.
Our Nation is facing a fiscal crisis. Our deficit for fiscal year
1993 was $255 billion. Our debt for fiscal year 1994 is projected to
be $4,734 trillion. That is $13,345 for every man, women, and child
in America. We must do something about this.
Why are we debating these t5T)es of changes? Because Congress
needs handcuffs. Unfortunately, Congress has not been willing to
make the tough choices and cut spending enough.
There have been some starts and fits and stops, back and forth,
and we have accomplished some things. I remember in 1981 and
1982, we actually cut the deficit some. Last year, the process I
think actually did contribute to cutting the deficit some. I objected
because I thought too much of it was done in the tax area. But the
net result was that we still have not made enough tough choices
to deal with the problem,
I can understand why each one of us were sent here by constitu-
encies to protect the interests of our various States. In my own
State, we have a lot of poverty; we have a lot of needs. We need
better roads. We need better schools. Naturally, I am interested in
trying to help my State with those needs.
Putting procedural changes in place such as the balanced budget
amendment and some of the provisions of this bill would force Con-
gress to be more responsible stewards of our constituents' hard-
I do want to point out that even if we had a budget surplus, I
would still believe the changes in this bill are necessary. The sys-
tem needs to be tweaked. As it stands currently, it does not allow
the budget to reflect the current priorities of our Nation.
This bill was also introduced in the House by my friend Con-
gressman Chris Cox. He and Congressman Charles Stenholm
have worked very hard on this and there are now over 160 cospon-
sors in the House.
The bill will achieve the following objectives: simplification of the
process, a shift from its current bias toward higher spending, and
compliance with current law.
The Budget Process Reform Act would accomplish these goals
through the following specific provisions:
First, it requires the budget resolution to be a joint one, voted
on by April 15. Making it legally binding by requiring the Presi-
dent's signature will involve the President in the process at an
early stage and ensure a shared efibrt.
I think that would be very important. You may say: Well, this
President is not involved. But maybe he is more than others. I
think until we get this requirement for a joint resolution, the Presi-
dent will not be as involved. We really need him.
The bill espouses a wise concept: Budget first, spend second. No
spending bills â€” either authorizations or appropriations â€” could be
considered prior to passage of the budget resolution. This will allow
spending bills to move through the appropriations process in a log-
ical and timely manner.
Second, the bill forces overall spending decisions to be made at
a macro level. This year's budget is 4 volumes, 2,013 pages, and
weighs 6 pounds.
How many of us are actually going to read it?
It takes a budget guru just to figure out what we're spending on
a specific program. Our system seems designed to keep us all con-
This bill would simplify the budget process by first requiring a
1-page budget document reflecting the total spending levels in the
19 summary categories currently used.
This would facilitate an easier decisionmaking process and the
ability to prioritize â€” and see â€” where we are spending the American
We should not get bogged down in the details. That job belongs
to the authorizers and appropriators.
The budget would also set ceilings on all Federal spending for
the coming fiscal year, except for Social Security and interest on
the debt. The bill does not say what those ceilings would be, but
merely that Congress would set them and then live by them.
The President would be required to submit the detailed support
2 weeks later, after the overall spending decisions had been ad-
The bill would eliminate baseline budgeting as we know it. This
concept of budgeting allows automatic spending increases every
year. This is the only place I know in the world where you allow
for an increase and then you begin deciding how much you are
going to add to that from that particular point.
I believe there are two fundamental problems with this: First,
this means spending automatically goes up every year. Period. Sec-
ond, this does not allow Congress to make decisions about where
we should spend more or less.
I think anyone who considers this issue in terms of their own fi-
nancial position would agree that this is poor policy and it is not
even honest. For instance, how many of you automatically plan to
spend 3 or 4 percent â€” or whatever the annual inflation rate is â€”
more each year than you did the year before?
I was very encouraged by the vote on this issue in the Senate
Budget Committee markup last Thursday. The Budget Committee
voted 15 to 5 for a sense-of-the-Congress to eUminate baseUne
budgeting. This provision was also included in the House passed
budget resolution. This is a change whose time has come. I urge
that we adopt this provision.
The bill also contains a bias in favor of spending constraint
which is in sharp contrast to our current situation. Ajny spending
which exceeds the caps set in the budget resolution would be sub-
ject to a three-fifth's vote of the Senate. Thus, the only way to
adopt spending proposals by simple majority would be to authorize
and appropriate within the ceilings of a duly enacted budget law.
Additionally, the ceilings on spending would also apply to entitle-
ments. Again, this merely means that Congress would decide on
specific spending totals for these programs. Congress has abdicated
their control over the largest Government programs. As a result,
these programs have grown uncontrollably. We must reign them in
and make conscious decisions about the Government spending in-
stead of just signing the blank check year after year.
The head of each executive agency that administers any entitle-
ment program would be authorized to adjust benefit levels and eli-
gibility requirements, so that the prograili costs exactly what Con-
gress has appropriated and no more.
To maintain the integrity of congressional control over the legis-
lative process, the CBO â€” rather than the 0MB â€” would be the
scorekeeper for determining whether particular authorization and
appropriations measures were consistent with the budget ceilings.
In his State of the Union speech last year. President Clinton said
that the CBO should be the official scorekeeper. I do not have any
bias for CBO. In fact, I have a lot of reservations about it. But, we
need to decide who it is going to be, so we will have consistent
President Clinton has also repeatedly stated his support for the
line item veto. This bill would give it to him. Why shouldn't the
President of the United States have the same ability as 43 Grov-
emors to reduce targeted, pork-barrel projects?
This bill gives the President the authority to rescind over-budget
spending unless Congress were to enact legislation expressly over-
turning it. This gives the President the power to selectively reduce
individual programs by a percentage, leaving intact some portions
of programs budgeted by Congress if he chooses. This would help
The bill also precludes the need for continuing resolutions by
automatically reverting any unfinished appropriations bills to the
prior year's spending level. It amazes me, by law. Congress is to
finish all appropriations bills by June 30. Yet, every year we miss
this legal deadline and are forced to pass continuing resolutions be-
cause we can't get our work done in a timely manner. Various Cjov-
emment agencies and programs do not laiow whether they are
going to be able to continue or not. We always talk about shutting
down the Washington Monument. It is time to stop that insanity.
This provision of the bill will prevent actual or threatened an-
nual shutdowns of the Federal Government.
In addition, this reversion would encourage spending restraint â€”
if no action were taken on the appropriations bills, spending would
not increase from year to year.
In conclusion, through the Budget Process Reform Act we will
enforce the law. We will require cooperation between the President
and Congress. We will bring entitlement programs under budget
control. Above all, we will make the system clear and understand-
able to the people whose money we are spending.
As we annually translate our Nation's priorities into a Federal
budget, we can use this new process to both plan and discipline our
spending while still achieving our goals. The final result will be a
meaningful budget which allows Congress to focus on the effects of
the bottom line on the economy and on the tradeoffs which must
be made among priorities to control overall levels of spending.
This is a bipartisan plan. In preparing this legislation, we drew
upon the experience and ideas of Democratic and Republican ad-
ministration officials, congressional leaders, and academic experts
across the past seven decades. This bill is a good starting point for
real deficit reduction.
It sets the mechanisms in place to facilitate a more efficient and
effective budget system.
I am hopeful that the grounds swell of support for reform will en-
able us to get this bill through this Congress. We need to put aside
old ways of thinking and doing things. I believe Congress can do
what it must do. We can win back the people's trust.
Our fiscal problems are not unsurmountable. A child must learn
to step before he walks, and walk before he runs.
I remind my colleagues of a quote by St. Francis of Assisi:
"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what is possible; and
suddenly you are doing the impossible."
So I urge my colleagues to join me and the cosponsors of this bill
in taking this step towards restoring fiscal responsibility, dis-
cipline, and accountability.
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Budget Process
Reform Act be printed in its entirety at the conclusion of my re-
There being no objection, the bill was ordered to be printed in
the Record, as follows:
To amend the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974
to reform the budget process, and for other purposes.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
March 22 (legislative day, February 22), 1994
Mr. LOTT (for himself, Mr. Shelby, Mr. Hatch, Mr. Browk, Mr. Burns,
Mr. Coats, Mr. Coverdell, Mr. Dole, Mr. Grassley, Mr. Gregg,
Mr. Helms, Mrs. Kassebaum, Mr. Mack, Mr. .McCain, Mr. Nickles,
Mr. Simpson, and Mr. Smith) introduced the following bill; which was
read twice and referred jointly pursuant to the order of August 4, 1977,
to the Committees on the Budget and Governmental Affairs, with instruc-
tions that if one committee reports, the other committee have thirty days
to report or be discharged
To amend the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Con-
trol Act of 1974 to reform the budget process, and
for other purposes.
1 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa-
2 tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
3 SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.
4 (a) Short Title. â€” This Act may be cited as the
5 "Budget Process Reform Act".
6 (b) Table op Contents. â€” The table of contents for
7 this Act is as follows:
Sec. 1 . Short title; table of contents.
TITLE Iâ€” STATEMENT OF CONGRESSIONAL PURPOSE
Sec. 101. Improvement in decisionmaking process.
Sec. 102. Reform of fiscal management.
Sec. 103. Safeguards against delay and inaction.
TITLE nâ€” BINDING BUDGET LAW
Sec. 201. Joint resolution establishing binding budget law.
Sec. 202. Budget required before spending bills may be considered.
Sec. 203. "baseline" budgeting prohibited; unac^usted year-to-year comparisons
required in budget law.
Sec. 204. President's budget submissions.
TITLE IIIâ€” ENFORCEMENT MECHANICS
Subtitle A â€” Supermtgority Required to Break Budget Law
Sec. 301. Three-fifths requirement for all spending bills in absence of budget
Sec. 302. Three-fifths requirement for over-budget spending bills.
Sec. 303. Three-fifths requirement for waiver of this Act.
Subtitle B â€” Limited Enhanced Rescission Authority
Sec. 304. Rescission authority limited to spending above limits of congressional
See. 305. Application.
Subtitle C â€” "Blank Check** Appropriations Prohibited
Sec. 306. Intent of Senate.
Sec. 307. Fixed-dollar appropriations required.
Sec. 308. Agency-adjusted benefits.
See. 309. Budget authority and entitlement authority may cover only a single
Subtitle D â€” "Pay As You Go" Requirement for New Spending
Sec. 310. Spending offsets required.
Sec. 311. Three-fifths vote required to waive point of order.
TITLE IVâ€” SUSTAINING MECHANISM
Sec. 401. Automatic continuing resolution.
Sec. 402. Contingencj' regulations.
Sec. 403. Unauthorized appropriations prohibited.
TITLE Vâ€” PROTECTION OF SOCIAL SECURITY
Sec. 501. Benefits protected against deficit reduction.
Sec. 502. Conforming amendment.
TITLE VIâ€” TIMETABLE
Sec. 601. Re\ision of timetable.
TITLE VIIâ€” CONFORMING AMENDMENTS
â€¢S 1965 RIS
Sec. 701. Conforming and technical amendments changing "concurrent" to
Sec. 702. Further conforming and technical amendments.
Sec. 703. (Conforming amendments to the Impoundment Control Act of 1974.
Sec. 704. Conforming amendment to title 31, United States Code.
TITLE Vraâ€” DEFIMTIONS AND RULES OF
Sec. 801. Definitions.
Sec. 802. Amendments to Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act
Sec. 803. Use of terms.
TITLE IXâ€” EFFECTIVE DATE
Sec. 901. General provision.
Sec. 902. Fiscal year 1993.
1 TITLE Iâ€” STATEMENT OF
2 CONGRESSIONAL PURPOSE
3 SEC. 101. IMPROVEMENT IN DECISIONMAKING PROCESS.
4 Because the Federal budget process is the principal
5 vehicle by which many of the most fundamental policy
6 choices in Government are made, the purpose of this Act
7 is to facilitate rational, informed, and timely decisions by
8 the Congress in the course of that process,
9 SEC. 102. REFORM OF FISCAL MANAGEMENT.
10 It is the sense of the Congress that a properly func-
1 1 tioning Federal budget process should focus the attention
12 of policymakers and the public on the a^regate impact
13 of Federal spending on the economy, and on the tradeoffs
14 that must be made among priorities in order to control
15 overall levels of spending. To this end, the Act is intended
16 to establish a budget process that, in each fiscal period â€”
1 (1) requires the adoption of a budget before,
2 not after, any spending begins;
3 (2) produces decisions on that budget early in
4 the budgeting cycle;
5 (3) encourages cooperation between Congress
6 and the President in adopting the budget;
7 (4) ties each subsequent spending decision to
8 an overall, binding budget total;
9 (5) requires regular, periodic decisions on ap-
10 propriate spending levels for all Federal programs,
11 not just those arbitrarily deemed "controllable"; and
12 (6) produces a bias in favor of fiscal respon-
13 sibility that can be overcome only if the Congress ex-
14 pressly determines to do so.
15 SEC. 103. SAFEGUARDS AGAINST DELAY AND INACTION.
16 The Congress further finds that a properly function-
17 ing budget process should contain safeguards against
18 delay and inaction, so that temporary shut-downs of the
19 Federal Government may be avoided when the President
20 and the Congress fail to complete work on the budget prior
21 to the beginning of a fiscal period. Accordingly, this Act
22 is intended to provide an enforcement mechanism that
23 gives meaning and importance to the timely adoption of
24 a budget, and a sustaining mechanism that ensures a con-
1 tinuation of the Grovemment should the political process
2 produce deadlock or a failure to act in a timely fashion.
3 TITLE IIâ€” BINDING BUDGET LAW
4 SEC. 201. JOINT RESOLUTION ESTABLISHING BINDING
5 BUDGET LAW.
6 To encourage early consultation and cooperation be-
7 tween the Congress and the President on decisions con-
8 ceming overall spending levels for all Federal programs,
9 the Congress shall enact a binding budget law, in the form
10 of a joint resolution, by April 15 of the calendar year be-
1 1 fore that in which the fiscal period commences. The tech-
12 nical amendments contained in title VI and section 701
13 of this Act are intended to assist in the establishment of
14 this requirement. The budget law itself shall fit on a single
15 page, which sets forth specific budget ceilings in the fol-
16 lowing 19 major functional categories, which together
17 comprise the entire Federal budget.
18 Function 050: National Defense
19 Function 150: International Affairs
20 P\inction 250: General Science, Space and
22 Function 270: Energy
23 Function 300: Natural Resources and Environ-
25 Function 350: Agriculture
1 Function 400: Transportation
2 Function 450: Community and Regional Devel-
4 Function 500: Education, Training, Employ-
5 ment and Social Services
6 Function 550: Health
7 Function 570: Medicare
8 Function 600: Income Security
9 Function 650: Social Security
10 Function 700: Veterans Benefits and Services
11 Function 750: Administration of Justice
12 Function 800: General Government
13 Function 900: Net Interest
14 Function 920: Allowances
15 Function 950: Undistributed Offsetting Re-
17 By thus requiring that the budget process begin with
18 highly generalized macroeconomic decisions about spend-
19 ing in 19 overall categories, this section is intended to fa-
20 cilitate agreement within Congress itself, and between
21 Congress and the President, on how much the Federal
22 Government should spend in the ensuing fiscal period.
1 SEC. 202. BUDGET REQUIRED BEFORE SPENDING BILLS
2 MAY BE CONSIDERED.
3 Unless and until a joint resolution on the budget is
4 enacted with respect to any major functional category for
5 a fiscal period, it shall not be in order in either the House
6 of Representatives or the Senate, or any committee or sub-
7 committee thereof, to consider any spending bill affecting
8 spending in that category, except as provided in Title III
9 of this Act. The purpose of this provision is to ensure that
10 until the budget is signed into law, no authorization or
1 1 appropriations bill shall be considered in the Congress.
12 SEC. 203. "BASELINE" BUDGETING PROHIBITED;
13 UNADJUSTED YEAR-TO-YEAR COMPARISONS
1 4 REQUIRED IN BUDGET LAW.
15 Section 301(e) of the Congressional Budget Act of
16 1974 is amended by â€”
17 (1) inserting after the second sentence the fol-
18 lowing: "The starting point for any deliberations in
19 the Committee on the Budget of each House on the
20 joint resolution on the budget for the next fiscal pe-
21 riod shall be the estimated level of outlays for the
22 current period in each function and subfunction.
23 Any increases or decreases in the Congressional
24 budget for the next fiscal period shall be from such
25 estimated levels.";
1 (2) striking paragraphs (2) and (3) and insert-
2 ing the following:
3 "(2) a comparison of levels for the current fis-
4 cal period with proposed spending for the subse-
5 quent fiscal periods along with the proposed increase
6 or decrease of spending in percentage terms for each
7 function and subfunction;
8 "(3) information, data, and comparisons indi-
9 eating the manner in which, and the basis on which,
10 the committee determined each of the matters set
11 forth in the joint resolution, including information
12 on outlays for the current fiscal period and the deci-
13 sions reached to set funding for the subsequent fis-
14 cal years;";
15 (3) inserting "and" after the semicolon in para-
16 graph (7);
17 (4) striking paragraph (8); and
18 (5) redesignating paragraph (9) as paragraph
20 The technical amendments contained in sections
21 702(g) and 704(b) of this Act are intended to apply the
22 same prohibition against ''baseline" budgeting to the
23 budgets prepared by the President and the Congressional
24 Budget Office reports to the Budget Committees.
1 SEC. 204. PRESIDENTS BUDGET SUBMISSIONS.
2 On or before the fifteenth day after a joint resolution
3 on the budget is enacted, the President shall submit to
4 the Congress a detailed budget for the fiscal period begin-
5 ning on October 1 of the current calendar year, including
6 all summaries and explanations required under section
7 1 1 05 ( a) of title 3 1 , United States Code.
8 TITLE IIIâ€” ENFORCEMENT
10 Subtitle A â€” Supermajority
11 Required to Break Budget Law
12 SEC. 301. THREE-FIFTHS REQUIREMENT FOR ALL SPEND-
1 3 ING BILLS IN ABSENCE OF BUDGET LAW.
14 Unless and until a joint resolution on the budget is
15 enacted with respect to any major functional category for
16 a fiscal period, it shall not be in order in the Senate or
17 any committee or subcommittee thereof, to consider any
18 spending bill affecting spending in that category unless it
19 is approved by the affirmative vote of three-fifths of the
20 Members voting, a quorum being present.
21 SEC. 302. THREE-FIFTHS REQUIREMENT FOR OVER-BUDG-
22 ET SPENDING BILLS.
23 (a) Determination of Budget Effect of All
24 Proposed Spending Bills. â€” The Congressional Budget
25 Office shall provide to the Senate (or the appropriate com-
26 mittee, subcommittee, or conference thereof) as soon as
1 practicable after the introduction of any spending bill, its
2 estimate of the costs in each major functional category
3 attributable to that bill during the fiscal period in which
4 it is to become effective and in each of the next 4 fiscal
5 years, together with the basis for such estimate. The Con-
6 gressional Budget Office report shall not be required, how-
7 ever, if the Congressional Budget Office certifies that a
8 spending bill will likely result in applicable costs of less
9 than $10,000,000. Fo^ purposes of estimating the costs
10 attributable to any spending bill that includes new credit
1 1 authority, the report shall deem the market value of any
12 loan (if it were sold by the Federal Government) or the
13 assumption cost of any guarantee (if it were assumed at
14 market rates) to be the costs attributable to such loan or
15 guarantee in the fiscal period in which it is made.
16 (b) CBO Report Required Before Consider-
17 ATiON OF Spending Bills. â€” It shall not be in order in
18 the Senate, or in any committee thereof, to consider any
19 spending bill, unless and until the report referred to in
20 subsection (a) has been made available to the Senate or
2 1 the appropriate committee or subcommittee thereof.
22 (c) Three-Fifths Requirement for All 0\'^r-
23 Budget Spending Bills. â€” It shall not be in order in
24 the Senate (or in any committee, subcommittee, or con-
25 ference) to consider any spending bill for a fiscal period
1 that the report referred to in subsection (a) indicates
2 would in such fiscal period exceed a budget ceiling, unless
3 such bill is approved by the affirmative vote of three-fifths
4 of the Members voting, a quorum being present.
5 (d) Determination of Spending in a Cat-
6 EGORY. â€” A spending bill shall be deemed to break a budg-
7 et ceiling if â€”
8 (1) its cost in any major functional category as
9 estimated in the report referred to in subsection (a);
11 (2) all other budget authority, budget outlays,
12 and entitlement authority, if any, in that mjgor
13 functional category for the relevant fiscal period con-
14 tained in any previously enacted legislation for the
15 fiscal period; and
16 (3) to the extent that new budget authority or
17 entitlement authority for the relevant fiscal period