Daines, Brat Introduce Bicameral Legislation to Bring Integrity to Federal Budget Process

U.S. CONGRESS —U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) and U.S. Representative Dave Brat (R-VA) today introduced bicameral legislation that would require congressional budgetary scorekeepers to account for interest costs incurred on borrowed funds needed for legislative proposals. 

The Budgetary Accuracy in Scoring Interest Costs (BASIC) Act will include the cost of debt in both Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) analysis so that Congress can have the full picture of legislative costs to the American taxpayer.

“Congress employs gimmicks to shield hardworking American taxpayers from knowing exactly how much it is spending,” Daines stated. “It’s time the federal government provided a true accounting of how much it was spending. It’s our kids and grandkids who will have to bear the burden of the debt made possible by years of fiscal mismanagement.” 

“Knowing costs and revenues is an essential part of analyzing legislation for its merits. However, current estimates given to Congress lack the cost of servicing the federal debt,” said Brat. “I believe we should always strive for more transparency, not less. Disclosing a more accurate accounting of the costs of federal spending will give members a more accurate picture of the debt Washington is leaving to future generations.” 

Since passage of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, CBO and JCT have been tasked with providing budgetary and revenue scores to Congress and the public, but those estimates do not reflect economic reality – because their scoring methodologies doesn’t include projected interest costs.

The U.S. must borrow funds to pay for new legislative proposals, and borrowed funds must be paid back with interest. Interest payments on the national debt are expected to be $768 billion by Fiscal Year 2027. 

The bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), David Perdue (R-GA), Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Mike Lee (R-UT). 

The text of the BASIC Act is available HERE.