This past year’s budget process was one of the most contentious I have seen in my 35 years as a U.S. Senator. After wrangling over numerous appropriations measures, but to no avail, Congress was asked to vote on a hastily constructed omnibus spending bill with little time for review.

Since 1980, Congress has only twice completed the appropriations process prior to Oct. 1. In 18 of the 28 years since then, Congress has had to craft omnibus spending measures or enact at least one continuing resolution in lieu of a new appropriations bill.

I am sure that our founding fathers never envisioned this level of congressional dysfunction.

Streamlining our budget process is not a partisan issue. Congress as a whole, regardless of the majority party, has a great deal to gain from a more efficient budgeting procedure, including more time for oversight, committee debate, and discussion of bills.

Many of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle have joined me in advocating a two-year budget process. With their support, Senator Lieberman (I-Conn.) and I have introduced the Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act (S.2627). Under this legislation, the President would submit a two-year budget, while Congress would consider a two-year budget resolution and appropriation bills during its first session before considering authorization bills and agency oversight in its second session.

The idea behind this legislation is not new. Supporters of a biennial budgeting and appropriations process have included former presidents Clinton, Reagan and Bush, as well as the current president George W. Bush. Other notable proponents have included Former OMB Director Alice Rivlin; and former White House Chief of Staff, OMB Director and House Budget Committee Chairman Leon Panetta.

I believe this legislation would provide effective reform to the Congressional appropriations process. We owe it to the American people to become an effective and deliberative institution that is accountable to their needs.