Momentum growing to revamp Washington’s ‘broken’ budget process

Momentum growing to revamp Washington’s ‘broken’ budget process

There is new momentum to revamp Washington’s Groundhog Day-like budget process.

The Senate’s recent vote to embrace a biennial budget, coupled with Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidLobbying world Senators fume over fight to change rules for Trump's nominees After Dems stood against Pompeo, Senate’s confirmation process needs a revamp MORE’s (D-Nev.) endorsement, has significantly boosted the chances it could pass in this Congress.

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The budget revamp would require the president to propose a budget every other year at the beginning of each Congress. Backers say a biennial budget would give lawmakers more time to focus on oversight and policy areas instead of constantly trying to meet spending deadlines, which are often missed.

Sens. Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonOvernight Defense: VA nominee on the ropes | White House signals it will fight for pick | Trump talks Syria with Macron | McConnell tees up Pompeo vote White House signals it will fight on for Trump VA pick Senator offers new details on allegations against VA nominee MORE (R-Ga.) and Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenSenators pledge to pursue sanctions against Turkey over imprisoned American pastor Dems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination Menendez rips characterization of Pompeo as 'nation's top diplomat' MORE (D-N.H.) and Rep. Joe WilsonAddison (Joe) Graves WilsonTrump's effort to secure the border is making America safe again Legal immigrants can commend Trump on his efforts to end illegal immigration Lawmakers eye crackdown on China’s Confucius Institutes MORE (R-S.C.) have introduced bills on budget reform. Isakson successfully passed an amendment on the Senate’s non-binding budget resolution on this issue earlier this month.

“I am very pleased,” said Wilson of the Senate’s action, which passed on a 68-31 vote. “This is clearly a bipartisan initiative because each president since Ronald Reagan has supported it, not to mention that it is currently in effect in 20 states…I hope additional House members will take a look at it as it is truly a step forward in restoring order to the budget process.”

While former President Clinton backed a biennial budget, President Obama has not yet weighed in.

Wilson has said that shifting from a one-year to a two-year budget process “will allow Congress to devote more time and attention to the wasteful programs and policies that need reform.”

The Isakson/Shaheen bill has 10 co-sponsors, including Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSchumer to oppose Pompeo as secretary of State Fox News poll: Blankenship trails Jenkins, Morrisey in West Virginia primary McConnell tees up Pompeo nomination after dramatic committee vote MORE (D-W.Va.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharOvernight Tech: Cambridge Analytica whistleblower meets House Dems | SEC fines Yahoo M over email breach | Senators unveil internet privacy bill Overnight Cybersecurity: Homeland Security official says Russia likely targeted more than 21 states | Senate approves Trump's NSA chief | Lawmakers unveil bipartisan internet privacy bill Senators introduce bipartisan internet privacy bill MORE (D-Minn.), John CornynJohn CornynRand's reversal advances Pompeo Joe Scarborough predicts Trump won't run in 2020 Republicans divided over legislation protecting Mueller MORE (R-Texas), Angus KingAngus Stanley KingRand's reversal advances Pompeo Pompeo headed for confirmation after surprise panel vote Donnelly becomes third Dem to support Pompeo MORE (I-Maine) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenators debate new business deduction, debt in tax law hearing Tax rules will be subject to more OMB review under new memo Ending sex trafficking tomorrow requires preventing child abuse today MORE (R-Ohio).

Wilson’s bill has been referred to three committees: Budget, Rules, and Oversight and Government Reform.  Wilson told The Hill that “now that we have this pleasantly surprising boost in the Senate, I will be in touch with committee chairs as well as leadership in order to help move this bill through the House.”

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerWe need more congressional oversight on matters of war A warning to Ryan’s successor: The Speakership is no cakewalk With Ryan out, let’s blow up the process for selecting the next Speaker MORE (R-Ohio) and Budget Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHenry Kissinger, Tim Cook among guests at White House state dinner Overnight Finance: Stocks fall hard | Trump sending delegation to China for trade talks | SEC fines Yahoo M over breach | Dodd-Frank rollback dominates banking conference To keep control of House, GOP must have McCarthy as next Speaker MORE (R-Wis.) have previously backed the biennial idea.

Yet, members of the Appropriations Committee have expressed opposition. Some critics have said that moving away from an annual budget process would lead to more government spending, not less.

Wilson points out that a prominent member of the Appropriations panel, Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.), is a co-sponsor.

Reid, a former appropriator, recently said, “It’s something I would really like to take a look at. It’s something we should consider.”

Shaheen said earlier this month that the appropriations process is “broken,” adding, “Since Ronald Reagan, we’ve only had two budgets that have been done on time.”

The Isakson/Shaheen bill could come up during this year’s discussions on raising the debt ceiling.

In 2011, BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerWe need more congressional oversight on matters of war A warning to Ryan’s successor: The Speakership is no cakewalk With Ryan out, let’s blow up the process for selecting the next Speaker MORE said it would be “irresponsible” to raise the nation’s debt ceiling without taking significant steps to reduce spending and “reform the budget process.”