The Congressional Budget Act of 1974: The next 50 years

Thursday, June 6, 2024, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. EDT
The Brookings Institution, Falk Auditorium, 1775 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

Congress passed the Congressional Budget Act in 1974 to take back some of its power over federal spending from the White House. Among other things, the act created the House and Senate budget committees, the Congressional Budget Office, and the reconciliation process that has evolved into a key way to pass major legislation. The 50th anniversary of the act provides an opportunity not only to look back but also to look ahead.

On June 6, 2024, the Hutchins Center on Fiscal & Monetary Policy and the Governance Studies program at Brookings will examine the challenges the nation is facing over the next 50 years and how well-equipped the congressional budget process is to deal with them. Philip Joyce, a professor of public policy at the University of Maryland, will summarize his paper on the lasting influential features of the act. Following that, a panel will discuss how to better equip Congress to confront major challenges of the next 50 years—things like financing investments (including in children), stabilizing the finances of Social Security and Medicare, measuring the benefits and costs of immigration, and combating climate change. Participants include Anna Aizer of Brown University, Doug Elmendorf of Harvard, and Sanjay Patnaik of Brookings, moderated by David Wessel. Then we’ll turn to a panel on the challenges that political polarization and rising party conflict pose to the congressional budget process. Participating will be Sarah Binder and Molly Reynolds of Brookings and John Sides of Vanderbilt, moderated by Lisa Desjardins of PBS NewsHour.

Viewers can join the conversation and ask questions of the speakers by emailing or on X/Twitter at @BrookingsEcon and/or @BrookingsGov using the hashtag #CBO.

Registration is required to attend an event in person and guests at Brookings are required to attest to their state of health before attending. Visitors may not enter the building if they are feeling ill for any reason, have any symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19, or have tested positive for COVID-19 at any time in the preceding 5 days or longer in accordance with current CDC guidance, or have been advised by their healthcare professional or otherwise to not enter any space where some persons may not be vaccinated.

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The Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

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