The power of the purse is one of the fundamental responsibilities delegated to Congress by the Constitution. Congress exercises this authority through its budget resolutions, annual appropriations legislation, and a wide variety of other legislation containing authorizations of activities and programs that it considers in a given year. The American people have the right to know the full costs of the activities in which Congress engages. Instead, Congress utilizes a wide variety of gimmicks and accounting tricks to hide those costs. This allows Congress to spend more and more -- evading fiscal discipline and adding billions of dollars to the federal debt each year. Congress must take immediate steps to close budget loopholes that have allowed for the continued use of budget gimmicks. Without reforms, debt and deficit levels are likely to continue to rise, pushing the nation closer to the brink of fiscal disaster.