Rep. Blake Moore, R-Utah, introduced a bipartisan bill Thursday alongside Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Wash., that would reform the federal budgeting process, and give Congress the room to address the U.S. debt crisis.

The Comprehensive Congressional Budget Act of 2024 approaches the budget process as a whole, taking into account complete spending as well as revenue. It simplifies the process while allowing input from the president as well as committees in Congress.

“Reversing Washington’s debt culture has been one of my top priorities in Congress, and that starts with reforming our broken federal budget process,” said Moore, who represents Utah’s 1st District, in a press release.

“We must break the habit of appropriating with rushed deadlines and inefficient processes and rework our process so we can put together a strong budget with input from more members and committees.”

The current budgeting system’s main focus is on discretionary spending, which is the money needed for federal agencies — and their hundreds of programs — to continue functioning.

But, according to the Brookings Institute, this is only about 45% of government spending. Entitlement programs — like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — account for another two-thirds of federal spending. They don’t go through an approval process each year and are on autopilot. The rest of the spending — around 8% — is the interest on the mounting federal debt.

Americans for Prosperity, which advocates for limited government and free market policies, applauded Moore’s proposal. Kurt Couchman, a senior fellow in fiscal policy, said Moore and Gluesenkamp Perez, a Democrat, have a “can-do attitude that Americans deserve,” in a press release.

“They recognize the need to fix the dangerously dysfunctional federal budget system,” he said. “They see that Congress hasn’t been able to manage the federal budget because it doesn’t do an annual budget that includes everything. Appropriations are important, but they are barely a quarter of spending and no revenue.”

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Couchman recommended that Congress should fast-track the Comprehensive Congressional Budget Act of 2024.

If the bill passes, the procedure would be as follows: After the Congressional Budget Office files its outlook and the president submits a request for the budget, committees would view the estimates, matching them with direct spending and revenue under their jurisdiction, of which they will be required to create a detailed breakdown.

The committees would then create draft spending bills and send the packages to appropriations, where the budget would be assembled. The proposed budget would then move to the House, which may make amendments, before going to the Senate. Congress would resolve any differences between the two chambers and send the budget to the president.

The existing way requires a lot more back-and-forth including “activities of authorizing and appropriating and substituting a set of program committees,” and is “full of deadlines that are easily missed,” as the late Brookings Institute scholar, Alice Rivlin, wrote in 2014.

This year, too, Congress has not passed the 2024 spending bills on time, depending instead on a series of short-term bills.

Currently, there is also a reconciliation process, which, at the time of any legislative policy changes to the mandatory spending or tax laws, requires the relevant committees to authorize a plan and is a way to advance the fiscal legislation. But the Byrd Rule. adopted in 1985 and amended in 1990, doesn’t allow a reconciliation bill without budgetary provisions to expenditure or revenue, nor does it allow making changes to Social Security. Moore’s proposed bill will do away with the reconciliation process and the Byrd Rule entirely.

“Our national debt is a real, growing problem, affects our economy, and has been overlooked by Congress for too long,” said Gluesenkamp Perez. 

By the beginning of 2024, the national debt rose to more than $34 trillion. The debt hit this number just three months after surpassing $33 trillion. It now equals nearly $100,000 for every American citizen and, according to data collected by the U.S. Treasury, has grown by $10 trillion since 2019.