ATLANTA – Two senators, including one from Georgia, say changing the federal budget process from an annual spending plan to a two-year cycle would “help restore order to the broken budget process and promote the responsible use of taxpayer dollars.”
In a letter to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said “our current budget and spending process does not help us meet that responsibility.
“Instead, it creates an atmosphere in which waste is all too common,” they added. “If we are serious about reducing future wasteful spending, we must consider changing this broken process to focus more on looking at what works and what does not work. Biennial budgeting is a strong step in the right direction.”
Isakson is a sponsor of S.211, which he says would require the president to create a two-year budget at the start of Congress’ first session. During that first session, Congress would approve the two-year budget and any required reconciliation and appropriations bills, according to Isakson.
During its second session, Congress would consider any needed authorization bills in addition to overseeing federal programs, according to Isakson.
“Support for a two-year budget cycle extends well beyond the state level,” the senators wrote. “This legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support at the federal level for several years. A biennial budget system is an idea that has been endorsed by each successive president since Ronald Reagan, as well as numerous federal budget experts.
“Congress has repeatedly failed to pass spending bills on time and frequently resorted to omnibus bills at the last minute instead,” Isakson and Shaheen added. “The current process is so broken that since 1980, Congress has only twice completed appropriations legislation on time.”