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Convergence Center for Policy Resolution

How the Budget Mess in Congress Hurts All of Us

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Liberals and conservatives agree: the federal budget process is a mess. Can it be overhauled?

One of the key functions of Congress is to pass a budget. But often that seems close to impossible. Lack of agreement over federal spending regularly threatens to bring about government shutdowns, which affect millions of Americans. Yet few of us can even begin to understand the byzantine budget process.

Our guests on this week’s episode of Let’s Find Common Ground want to change that.

In this show, we meet two experts from different sides of the political aisle who came together with other policy experts to make the budget process simpler, more efficient and more transparent.

At the time of the Convergence dialogue, Alison Acosta Winters was a Senior Policy Fellow at Americans for Prosperity. Emily Holubowich was Executive Director of the Coalition for Health Funding. Alison is a fiscal conservative while Emily is an advocate for greater government support for health care. Still, each agrees that the current budget process is a mess and keeps Americans in the dark about how their money is being spent.

Brought together by Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, Alison, Emily and other stakeholders from diverse backgrounds spent months working together to come up with several major proposals for overhauling the budget process – proposals they hope will shine some light on how our government works. These proposals are currently being considered in Congress and enjoy bipartisan support.

This podcast was co-produced in partnership with Convergence Center for Policy Resolution and is one of a series of podcasts that Common Ground Committee and Convergence are producing together. Each highlights the common ground that resulted from one of Convergence’s structured dialogues-across-differences. Learn more about the Convergence budget dialogue and read more about the Convergence dialogue recommendations.

Join us for an interesting lesson in simplifying the arcane process of federal budgeting on “Let’s Find Common Ground.”

Read the Episode Transcript

Ep 48 – How the Budget Mess in Congress Hurts All of Us

Alison Acosta Winters

Alison Acosta Winters was most recently a Senior Policy Fellow at Americans for Prosperity and the Charles Koch Foundation where she worked on trade, economic, and fiscal policy. While there, Winters participated in the Convergence Building a Better Budget Process dialogue with a broad array of stakeholders that resulted in a series of policy recommendations that have received attention in Congress.

Prior to that, Winters was the Director of the Roe Institute for Economic Policy at the Heritage Foundation. She wrote on a wide variety of economic issues, including co-authoring the Heritage Fiscal Plan Saving the American Dream. While at Heritage, Winters participated in the Fiscal Wake Up Tour which brought together policy experts from different perspectives to educate Americans about the unsustainable fiscal path the nation is on and policy choices that could address the problem.

Winters has appeared in numerous media outlets including Bloomberg, CNN, Fox, PBS and NPR. Her work has been seen in USA Today, Politico, The Hill, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and more.

Emily Holubowich

Emily joined the American Heart Association in 2019 as the Vice President of Federal Advocacy with more than twenty years of experience in health and fiscal policy, government relations, strategic communications, and coalition management. She is frequently sought out by the media for her expertise on public health and fiscal policy, serves as a lecturer in health policy and management at The George Washington University, and is called upon by national organizations to lecture on the policy environment and best practices in strategic communications and advocacy. In a volunteer capacity, Emily serves on the boards of several nonprofit organizations. Previously, Emily was a senior vice president at CRD Associates, where she worked with several clients in the public health community—including the Coalition for Health Funding as its Executive Director. Prior to CRD Associates, Emily was the director of government relations for AcademyHealth and a senior health policy analyst with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). Emily holds a Master of Public Policy from The Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and English from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

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