Senate chairman urges move to two-year budgetary process
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) is throwing his support behind a two-year budget and appropriations process, an option actively being considered by a joint select committee examining the budget process.
“I have long believed that moving to biennial appropriations would allow for greater transparency and congressional oversight of executive branch program spending and management,” Enzi wrote in a letter to the co-chairs of the joint select committee, Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), dated May 29 and obtained by The Hill.
Enzi recommended considering six of the 12 appropriations bills in the first session of a congressional term, and the other half the second session.
“By halving the number of bills required to be adopted annually, Congress could create space for itself to devote more time and attentions to oversight and other national priorities,” he wrote.
Enzi has previously suggested that the Senate Budget Committee could be eliminated altogether.
The joint select committee is considering options including adopting a two-year cycle and aligning the budget to the calendar year instead of the fiscal year, which currently begins in October.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is scheduled to testify on Wednesday before the joint select committee, which has instructions to produce recommendations on reforming the budget process by year’s end.
Budget experts lament that the budget process will not yield better fiscal results so long as it remains divorced from revenues, which are set in separate processes in different committees.
On Tuesday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected that federal debts are on track to double over the course of the next 30 years, surpassing historical records along the way and racking up huge interest payments, which will dominate government spending.