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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 ReidBiden's first 100 days is stylistic 'antithesis' of Trump The Memo: Washington's fake debate on 'bipartisanship' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring 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 ShaheenIf Taliban regains power, they would roll back rights for women: US intelligence Manchin says he doesn't support DC statehood, election reform bills Overnight Defense: Gillibrand makes new push for military sexual assault reform | US troops begin leaving Afghanistan | Biden budget delay pushes back annual defense policy bill MORE (D-N.H.) and Rep. Joe WilsonAddison (Joe) Graves WilsonStand and deliver — President Biden's maiden address to Congress Lawmakers want Biden to pressure Saudi Arabia to end Yemen blockade Biden faces deadline pressure on Iran deal 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 ManchinOn The Money: Federal judge vacates CDC's eviction moratorium | Biden says he's open to compromise on corporate tax rate | Treasury unsure of how long it can stave off default without debt limit hike DC mayor admitted to Democratic governors group amid statehood fight Biden says he's open to compromise on corporate tax rate MORE (D-W.Va.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharRepublicans float support for antitrust reform after Trump Facebook ban upheld Washington keeps close eye as Apple antitrust fight goes to court Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap MORE (D-Minn.), John CornynJohn CornynCornyn is most prolific tweeter in Congress so far in 2021 Schumer 'exploring' passing immigration unilaterally if talks unravel Trump muddles Republican messaging on Afghanistan MORE (R-Texas), Angus KingAngus KingDC mayor admitted to Democratic governors group amid statehood fight Democrats fret over Biden spending Schumer works to balance a divided caucus's demands MORE (I-Maine) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanHouse panel advances bipartisan retirement savings bill Democrats confront difficult prospects for midterms Biden, GOP set to find out if US wants activist government 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 BoehnerBudowsky: Liz Cheney vs. conservatives in name only House Republicans request hearing with Capitol Police Board for first time since 1945 Press: John Boehner: good author, bad leader MORE (R-Ohio) and Budget Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBudowsky: Liz Cheney vs. conservatives in name only Cheney at donor retreat says Trump's actions 'a line that cannot be crossed': report Press: John Boehner: good author, bad leader 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 BoehnerBudowsky: Liz Cheney vs. conservatives in name only House Republicans request hearing with Capitol Police Board for first time since 1945 Press: John Boehner: good author, bad leader 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.”