Isakson: Biennial budget would reduce ‘wasteful spending’

A U.S. senator from Georgia this week co-authored an op-ed advocating for a biennial budget.

Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., contend such a budget “would convert the federal budget process from an annual, chaotic spending event to a two-year, thoughtful process that would require Congress to conduct oversight.

“Our legislation would dedicate the first year of a Congress to appropriating federal dollars while devoting the second year to scrutinizing federal programs to determine if they are working and deserve to continue to be funded,” the senators wrote. “This common-sense reform would force Congress to become better stewards of the taxpayers’ money, thereby reducing reckless and wasteful spending.”

The biennial budget concept “has been endorsed by each successive president since Ronald Reagan” in addition to a number of budget experts, according to Isakson and Shaheen.

“Our current budget process is broken,” the senators wrote. “Members of Congress rarely have time to conduct careful, thorough reviews of federal programs, and agency staff dedicate countless hours every year to justifying their own existence, rather than accomplishing critical missions.

“As a result, we continue to spend money on projects that are duplicative, failing or have outlasted their usefulness,” they wrote. “Congress has repeatedly failed to pass the 12 annual spending bills on time and has instead resorted to massive omnibus bills at the 11th hour. Since 1980, Congress has only twice completed the entire appropriations process before Oct. 1.”

The op-ed appeared in Roll Call.

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