Honest Budget Act of 2012
Honest Budget Act of 2012 – Amends procedures in the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 that make it out of order in the Senate to consider appropriations legislation until the Senate agrees to a concurrent resolution on the budget. Permits waivers or suspension of such requirements, or successful appeals from a ruling of the Chair, by an affirmative vote of three-fifths (60) of the Senate. Makes it out of order in either chamber to consider certain bills, joint resolutions, or conference reports that designate as: (1) an emergency requirement any provision that creates discretionary or direct spending or decreases revenues, or (2) being for disaster relief. Requires an affirmative vote of three-fifths of the Members to successfully appeal a ruling of the Chair on a point of order against such a measure. Establishes a procedure for emergency designations by amendment. Makes it out of order in the House of Representatives to consider a rule or order that waives the application of such prohibitions against consideration of such measures or amendments. Amends the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990 (FCRA) to revise the budgetary treatment of federal direct loans and loan guarantees to account for them on a fair value basis (currently, a FCRA accrual basis). Expands such new budgetary treatment to financial investments beginning in FY2015. Defines “financial investment” as a federal government investment in any securities (debt or equity) or futures, swaps, or other derivatives, issued by a non-federal entity, regardless of whether the issuances are federally guaranteed, or issued by a federal entity if the issuance consists of marketable securities. Requires the President’s budget: (1) from FY1992 on to reflect the Treasury discounting component of direct loan and loan guarantee programs; and (2) from FY2015 on to reflect the costs of direct loan, loan guarantee, and financial investment programs. Defines “Treasury discounting component” as the estimated long-term cost to the federal government of a direct loan, loan guarantee, or financial investment calculated on a net present value basis, excluding administrative costs and any incidental effects on governmental receipts or outlays. Revises other requirements for the President’s budget including conditions for new direct loan obligations incurred and loan guarantee commitments made for FY1992 and thereafter, and new financial investment commitments for FY2015 and thereafter. Requires new budget authority for such loans or loan guarantee or financial investment commitments to be provided in advance in an appropriations Act. Exempts a direct loan or loan guarantee program that constitutes an entitlement (such as the guaranteed student loan program or the veteran’s home loan guaranty program) as well as all existing credit programs of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) from: (1) the above requirement; and (2) the prohibition against modification of an outstanding direct loan, loan guarantee, or financial investment in a manner that increases its costs unless budget authority for the additional cost has been provided in advance in an appropriations Act. Revises requirements for Treasury transactions with financing accounts (nonbudget accounts associated with each program account which holds balances, receives the cost payment from the program account, and also includes all other cash flows to and from the federal government resulting from such obligations or commitments made on or after October 1, 1991). Limits the availability of amounts in liquidating accounts to specified payments resulting from direct loan obligations or loan guarantee commitments made before October 1, 1991. Prescribes requirements for consideration of legislation in both chambers after agreement on a budget resolution (in effect, extending a point of order against certain changes in mandatory programs to all such programs in appropriations bills). Prohibits the congressional budget committees from counting rescissions of budget authority that do not result in outlay savings over the period covered by a budget resolution when determining the levels of new budget authority, outlays, direct spending, new entitlement authority, and revenues for a fiscal year. Suspends within-grade step increases in the compensation of certain federal employees from the date of enactment of this Act until December 31, 2012. Makes it out of order in both chambers to consider any legislation that would provide an advance appropriation, except for specified programs or activities, including the Employment and Training Administration, education for the disadvantaged, Head Start, rental assistance, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and veterans’ medical services. Allows: (1) waiver of this rule in either chamber by an affirmative vote of three-fifths of the Members; and (2) successful appeals in the Senate from the ruling of the Chair, only by an affirmative vote of three-fifths (60). Makes it out of order in the House, notwithstanding the allowance of such a waiver by the vote of a super-majority, to consider a rule or order that waives the application of such prohibition. Prohibits shifts in outlays or revenues from one year to another by a date change to act as an offset for other provisions that increase the deficit for a time period. Makes it out of order in the House to consider a rule or order that waives the application of such prohibition. Prescribes a budget scoring rule for transfers from the Treasury General Fund to the Highway Trust Fund that increase the level of indebtedness subject to the current applicable statutory public debt limit. Makes it out of order in the House to consider a rule or order that waives the application of such requirement.