Congressional Institute President Mark Strand has an op-ed in the Washington Times discussing reforms Congress could adopt through a Joint Committee that will fix the budget. Headlined “Finally Reforming Congress. Step One Should Be Fixing the Budget,” the piece says begins:

“Reform is a huge concept that means a lot of different things to a lot of people. The Congressional Institute has been compiling various reform proposals designed to stimulate discussion over what the Congress of tomorrow should look like, starting with the budget.

“… Think about this: The budget adopted last year calls for $1 trillion in discretionary spending over the course of this year and another $2.7 trillion in mandatory spending. The plan called for balancing the budget by 2024. Even that plan barely passed on a party-line vote. Very few authorization bills passed, and all of the appropriation bills had to be lumped into one humongous bill in order to keep the government from shutting down.”

Two Members of the House, California Rep. Tom McClintock and GOP Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, have both developed ideas to inject some common-sense into the budget process. McClintock recently sent a memo to colleagues about changing “the House rules to stop unauthorized appropriations from exceeding the amount allowed by the budget.” McMorris Rodgers has introduced The Unauthorized Spending Accountability (USA) Act that prevents the House from appropriating funding to agencies that haven’t been authorized by Congress. McMorris Rodgers said this when she introduced the bill:

“Today, people fear that they are losing representative government and we’re frustrated because the power to make the best decisions for ourselves, for our families, for our community is being taken away by a government that thinks it knows best. It isn’t being held accountable.”

As Mark wrote in the op-ed, though, “it’s hard for people to have faith in Congress if it doesn’t fulfill its own role under the Constitution. The best way to advance the debate on various reforms would be for Congress to create a bipartisan and bicameral Joint Committee on Reform, where members of both parties and both chambers participate in reforming the current dysfunction in Congress.”

The piece mentions some of the suggested reforms the Congressional Institute has posted on our page addressing budget reform concepts. You can find those reforms here.

Click here to read the full op-ed in the Washington Times.