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You can be a 'Budget Hero' even if Congress can't

Policy makers on Capitol Hill are struggling to agree on how to address the nation's deficit, but just how well do you think you could do if given the chance?

A new version of Budget Hero, the online game produced by the Public Insight Network team at American Public Media and the Wilson Center's Science Technology and Innovation Program, allows you to test your own budget policy and see the effects of those cuts or increased expenses on the federal budget. Let the Bush tax cuts expire, increase revenue. Spend more on a program, see your deficit grow.

Congress gives Budget Hero a spin

"Every member of Congress should be required to play this game" said Jane Harman, a former Democratic Congresswoman from California and now president and CEO of the Wilson Center, which crunched the numbers behind this latest update to Budget Hero.

And they're off to a start. A collection of Congressmen took a break today from real-life budget negotiations to host an event launching the game on Capitol Hill.

"There's a growing disconnect between what the people want and what our country is able to pay for," said Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat.

Udall was joined by Senator Jeff Sessions, a Republican from Alabama and ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, and former Representatives John Tanner and Robert Livingston.

"Budget negotiations need to be happening in the public," Sessions said at the event.

Those behind the game say this is the way to do it. "Congress does not seem to be, at least this week, moving forward," Harman said. "Perhaps the public out there will have to be the real budget heroes."

RELATED: Try your hand at Budget Hero


CORRECTION: The Congressmen who hosted and attended the event didn't actually play the game as the original article implied. This article has been updated to reflect that.

About the author

Matt Berger is the former Digital Director at Marketplace.

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