Improving Accuracy in Congressional Scorekeeping

Congress should account for debt-service costs or interest costs when considering the costs of proposed legislation. Including interest costs would improve accuracy in congressional scorekeeping, ensuring that Congress compares apples to apples when comparing new spending legislation to the Congressional Budget Office baseline. It would further discourage costly budget practices, such as “spend now, save later,” whereby Congress authorizes immediate additional spending for delayed savings later in the budget window. This is a simple, easy fix that Congress can make right away. The Cost Estimates Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 3804), introduced in the House by Dave Brat (R–VA), should attract bipartisan support since improving accuracy in congressional scorekeeping should be a nonpartisan priority.

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