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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 ReidNevada governor signs law making state first presidential primary Infighting grips Nevada Democrats ahead of midterms Lobbying world 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 IsaksonJohnny IsaksonLoeffler group targets Democrats with billboards around baseball stadium Warnock raises nearly M since January victory Five big takeaways on Georgia's new election law MORE (R-Ga.) and Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenOvernight Defense: Pentagon details military construction projects getting .2B restored from wall funds | Biden chooses former commander to lead Navy | Bill seeks to boost visa program for Afghans who helped US Senate bill would add visas, remove hurdles to program for Afghans who helped US White House briefed on bipartisan infrastructure deal but says questions remain MORE (D-N.H.) and Rep. Joe WilsonAddison (Joe) Graves WilsonAll House Republicans back effort to force floor vote on 'born alive' bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Masks off: CDC greenlights return to normal for vaccinated Americans Stefanik shake-up jump-starts early jockeying for committee posts 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 ManchinJoe ManchinWhy the Democrats need Joe Manchin Simmering Democratic tensions show signs of boiling over Out-of-touch Democrats running scared of progressives MORE (D-W.Va.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHouse unveils antitrust package to rein in tech giants Democrats reintroduce bill to create 'millionaires surtax' Senate Democrats befuddled by Joe Manchin MORE (D-Minn.), John CornynJohn CornynBipartisan lawmakers want Biden to take tougher action on Nicaragua Bipartisan Senate group announces infrastructure deal McConnell: 'Good chance' for infrastructure deal after talks unravel MORE (R-Texas), Angus KingAngus KingSenior Biden cyber nominees sail through Senate hearing Pentagon chief: Military has already started 'over-the-horizon' operations in Afghanistan Pavlich: Democrat senators must oppose Chipman's ATF nomination MORE (I-Maine) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Bipartisan group reaches infrastructure deal; many questions remain Al Gore lobbied Biden to not scale back climate plans in infrastructure deal White House briefed on bipartisan infrastructure deal but says questions remain 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 BoehnerAre maskless House members scofflaws? Israel, Democrats and the problem of the Middle East Joe Crowley to register as lobbyist for recording artists MORE (R-Ohio) and Budget Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanZaid Jilani: Paul Ryan worried about culture war distracting from issues 'that really concern him' The Memo: Marjorie Taylor Greene exposes GOP establishment's lack of power The Hill's 12:30 Report - Senators back in session after late-night hold-up 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 BoehnerAre maskless House members scofflaws? Israel, Democrats and the problem of the Middle East Joe Crowley to register as lobbyist for recording artists 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.”