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 ReidTrumpists' assaults on Republicans who refuse to drink the Kool-Aid will help Democrats The Jan. 6 case for ending the Senate filibuster Manchin flexes muscle in 50-50 Senate MORE’s (D-Nev.) endorsement, has significantly boosted the chances it could pass in this Congress.


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 leaves door open to 2022 rematch against Warnock Perdue on potential 2022 run: GOP must regain the Senate Bottom line MORE (R-Ga.) and Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenSenators press Treasury to prioritize Tubman redesign Can Palestine matter again? Senate signals broad support for more targeted coronavirus relief checks MORE (D-N.H.) and Rep. Joe WilsonAddison (Joe) Graves WilsonBiden faces deadline pressure on Iran deal Top Republican congressional aide resigns, rips GOP lawmakers who objected to Biden win READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results 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) ManchinHouse Democrats pass sweeping .9T COVID-19 relief bill with minimum wage hike Democrats scramble to rescue minimum wage hike White House noncommittal on 'Plan B' push to add wage increase to relief bill MORE (D-W.Va.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharOpen-ended antitrust is an innovation killer FBI, DHS and Pentagon officials to testify on Capitol riot Five big takeaways on the Capitol security hearings MORE (D-Minn.), John CornynJohn CornynBiden pledges support for Texas amid recovery from winter storm Partisan headwinds threaten Capitol riot commission Biden turns focus to winter storm with Texas trip MORE (R-Texas), Angus KingAngus KingBiden CIA pick pledges to confront China if confirmed, speak 'truth to power' Top cops deflect blame over Capitol attack Koch-backed group launches ads urging lawmakers to reject COVID-19 relief bill MORE (I-Maine) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGrassley to vote against Tanden nomination Murkowski undecided on Tanden as nomination in limbo Biden signs supply chain order after 'positive' meeting with lawmakers 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 Boehner Cruz hits back at Boehner for telling him to 'go f--- yourself' John Boehner tells Cruz to 'go f--- yourself' in unscripted audiobook asides: report Cancun fallout threatens to deal lasting damage to Cruz MORE (R-Ohio) and Budget Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanCruz hires Trump campaign press aide as communications director Bottom line Ex-Trump chief of staff Priebus mulling Wisconsin governor bid 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 Boehner Cruz hits back at Boehner for telling him to 'go f--- yourself' John Boehner tells Cruz to 'go f--- yourself' in unscripted audiobook asides: report Cancun fallout threatens to deal lasting damage to Cruz 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.”