How Congress and Polarization Are Impacting The Budget

We’re blogging from the Next Generation of Government Training Summit. Follow along @NextGenGov and read more blog posts here.

If there is one thing that federal workers can agree on, it is that the budget process for the Federal Government has presented some challenges for the work the federal employee can do. When you add in a polarized Congress, it can make things even worse.

In his session, Dr. Josh Huder, Senior Fellow at the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University shared his thoughts on just that topic. Josh indicated that the Government Affairs Institute was a non-profit organization dedicated to educating federal workers. He mentioned that the group used to reside within OPM.

In his presentation he outlined the basic components of the budget:
-Mandatory Spending
-Discretionary Spending
-Net Interest on the Debt
-Revenue (Taxes)

He also shared with the group that the good news is that the deficit in recent years has fallen. However, he went on to explain and showcase data about how the variations of spending over the years. He explained that programs like Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare are serving different needs than the needs that they were intended to address at the time they were introduced. He stressed the need for updates to these programs to match today’s changing world instead of the world as we knew it in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

In his final segment, Josh filed the room with discussion about the way that political climate has changed over the years. He explained that individuals in Congress are no longer just passing bills because they believe it should be passed, but also to benefit personal interests. The increased political environment helps them to send a message about a stance on a specific issue.

Political affiliations aside, this was an interesting session that got me thinking.

If you had a way to improve the political climate as it relates to the budget for the federal workplace, what suggestion(s) would you make?

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