Meuser Introduces Legislation to Increase Accountability and Transparency for Federal Budget Process

July 25, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON — Congressman Dan Meuser (PA-09) today introduced legislation that would increase accountability and transparency for the federal budget process by requiring Congress to account for interest costs that are accrued through the servicing of debt.

The Budgetary Accuracy in Scoring Interest Costs (BASIC) Act of 2019 updates Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) cost scoring requirements to include debt costs created by legislative proposals.

“Publicly held debt is at a staggering 78% of the United States’ GDP. The Basic ACT of 2019 will bring greater integrity and transparency to the federal budget process,” said Congressman Meuser. “It is vital to the success of our economy that we see the full and true cost of any new proposal. Only then can we begin to move away from years of misguided policies.”

“I commend Congressman Meuser for introducing this important piece of legislation. The American people deserve full transparency in how their tax dollars are spent,” said House Budget Committee Ranking Member Steve Womack (R-AR), an original cosponsor of the bill. “Due to inaction in Washington for years, interest on the debt will soon be the size of the defense budget. Requiring a more accurate accounting of managing our debt will help drive toward a long-term fiscally responsible solution.”

The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 requires that the CBO and JCT provide budgetary and revenue scores for legislation to be considered by Congress.

Given the nation’s current annual deficit, all new legislative proposals that include added costs are debt financed. Without this new reporting requirement, the full cost of any proposal can’t be fully known.

CBO estimates that annual debt interest payments, which stand at $382 billion in 2019, will be $921 billion by 2029.

To view the full text of the BASIC Act, click here.