Lawmakers to OMB: Consider biennial budgeting

A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Thursday urged the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to consider outlining the federal budget on a two-year basis instead of annually.

In a letter to OMB Director Shaun Donovan, the lawmakers argued that biennial budgeting would be easier for Congress to manage. The letter was signed by Reps. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), as well as Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Angus King (I-Maine) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). 

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"We believe biennial budgeting would allow Congress to work on a more manageable budget and appropriations schedule while also providing agencies more time to plan and implement the programs that Congress authorizes," they wrote. "Congress and the administration would then be able to accurately gauge the effectiveness of federal programs to promote more efficient uses of taxpayer funds."

The Senate confirmed Donovan as OMB director on July 10. 

"[W]e are interested in any thoughts and insights you may have about the benefits of biennial budgeting and other process reforms. As OMB Director, you will play an important role in shaping the administration’s thinking on this topic, so we are eager to hear from you," the lawmakers wrote.

The House Budget Committee advanced Ribble's legislation to establish a biennial budget process earlier this year. It has not made it to the House floor, however.