Automatic Reconciliation an Undesirable Part of Enzi-Whitehouse Budget Process Bill
Could Drive Harmful Budget Cuts, Unsound Economic Policy
 Although the bill proposes changes to the entire congressional budget process, it addresses only Senate procedures. The Senate sponsors of this legislation presumably expect that the House would add parallel House procedures if it were to consider the bill.
 Also see the Appendix.
 Both the 2017 and the 2018 budget resolutions were created and agreed to in calendar year 2017. One might say that Congress agreed to two budget resolutions for fiscal year 2018. The first created a reconciliation process intended to repeal the Affordable Care Act, though that failed. The second created a reconciliation process to enact the 2017 tax cuts. As a result, with respect to each of those two budget resolutions, the CBO debt-ratio calculation would (under Enzi-Whitehouse) have occurred in February 2018 and used the same CBO baseline.
 The 2010 resolution, in contrast, would have generated a CBO calculation projecting a lower fifth-year debt ratio than in that five-year budget resolution, and so would not have triggered the auto-reconciliation process.
 Existing law does not require the assumed level of GDP to be shown in budget resolutions, and it has not been. Our calculations are made under the understanding that the budget resolution in question had relied on the GDP levels projected by CBO in applicable baselines.
 “2017 Tax Law Is Fundamentally Flawed,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, updated, October 31, 2018, https://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-tax/2017-tax-law-is-fundamentally-flawed.
 The figure of $3.0 trillion over ten years occurs because the tax cut was supposed to cost $1.5 trillion over ten years, not $1.9 trillion, and the budget resolution assumed deep specified and unspecified cuts to mandatory programs that were not enacted (nor did the budget resolution use the standard reconciliation process to attempt to enact them).
 The 2017 budget resolution is also instructive because that resolution was publicly referred to as a “shell,” so its dollar figures incorporated no assumed changes in policy, merely reflecting levels virtually identical to those in CBO’s baseline. (It was designed purely as a vehicle to allow Congress to use the reconciliation process — and thereby avoid the Senate filibuster — to try to repeal the Affordable Care Act.) Yet even with no assumed deficit reduction, CBO’s 2018 calculation would have shown that the debt ratio would have exceeded the 10th-year level in the budget resolution for economic and technical reasons, triggering a reconciliation process to achieve $1.0 trillion in deficit reduction.
 There is no requirement under existing budget law or in the Enzi-Whitehouse proposal that the level of debt in a budget resolution be consistent with the level of deficits in the resolution.
 The Enzi-Whitehouse bill would make the chair and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee ex officio, non-voting members of the Budget Committee.
 The government values direct loan assets by accounting for not just the principal amount of the direct loan, but also the extent to which the interest rates it charges are above or below Treasury interest rates, the extent to which the portfolio of loans is likely to suffer from defaults (since some defaults are inevitable), and the extent to which defaults can be partially offset by, for example, garnishing later tax refunds.