In budgetary parlance, ChIMPS refers to the process of using annual spending bills to limit spending on a mandatory spending program that is otherwise authorized in multi-year or permanent authorizing legislation.
There are two main types of ChIMPS:
- Those that rely on fake “paper savings” to mask increased spending elsewhere in the federal budget
- those resulting in meaningful funding cuts with real-world consequences, such as undermining underlying program goals and creating uncertainty and unpredictability.
The use of ChIMPS is a symptom of larger problems with the overall U.S. budget process. The inability of Congress to adopt budget resolutions, consider annual spending bills separately and on time, abuse of “off-budget” accounts for defense and emergency spending, and gamesmanship of budget scoring process through the use of CHIMPS and other means, is evidence the budget process needs fundamental reform.
Congress is unable or unwilling to develop a budget process that identifies, debates, and produces public goods and without resorting to budget gimmicks.