House to push budget reforms next week

House Republicans next week will call up a slate of bills aimed at reforming the annual budget process, just a week before they plan to pass a formal budget for fiscal 2015.

Republicans have passed similar ideas in recent years, but none have gained traction with the Senate so far.

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When they were introduced last year, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said turning them into law would help rein in federal spending.

"These reforms are an important step toward restoring fiscal discipline in Washington," he said. "By improving the budget process, we can get a better handle on our spending problem."

One of the bills up is the Baseline Reform Act, H.R. 1871. This bill from Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) would eliminate the use of automatic inflation increases from the current budget when calculating the baseline of the next year's budget.

Another is the Budget and Accounting Transparency Act, H.R. 1872. This legislation from Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) is aimed at gaining a more accurate accounting of all taxpayer liabilities.

The bill puts mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac onto the budget, and requires their debt to be counted as part of the national debt. It would also make sure government credit programs are accounted for using fair value accounting methods, and study the idea of using fair-value accounting in federal insurance programs.

The third bill up is the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act, H.R. 1874. This bill, from Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), would require the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to assess the macroeconomic impact of major legislation.

Price said the bill would force the CBO to assess the impact of bills on jobs and growth, beyond just the simple monetary cost of legislation.

"That is a model that has proven to be incapable of providing the type of macroeconomic diagnosis folks need to make sure we are pursuing policies that will help generate economic opportunity and bring down the nation’s debt," Price said last year. 

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