U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) reintroduced the bipartisan Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act (S. 554) today on Capitol Hill in an effort to reform Congress' broken budgeting process. The legislation, which Isakson has filed as an amendment to the Continuing Resolution, would convert the annual spending process to a two-year budget cycle. This commonsense reform would force Congress to become better stewards of the taxpayers' money by placing Congress on a two-year budget cycle with one year for appropriating federal dollars and the other year devoted to oversight of federal programs.
"I'm proud to join Sen. Shaheen in reintroducing this bipartisan, commonsense legislation that would change the paradigm of Washington's broken budget system. At a time when our nation's debt is $16 trillion, it is imperative that we rethink the way that we do things in Congress" Isakson said. "I have pushed for biennial budgeting every year I've been in the Senate because this system would increase oversight and reduce spending, making our government more efficient and more accountable to taxpayers."
"The budget process is broken. We've dealt with one too many manufactured budget crises and now automatic cuts are threating jobs and economic growth because of Washington's inability to budget properly," Shaheen said. "We can't fix our debt and deficits until we fix our budget process, and biennial budgeting is a smart way to move forward. Biennial budgeting will help remove uncertainty that currently blunts economic growth but will also give us a better opportunity to exercise oversight and rein in excess spending."
Biennial budgeting has been endorsed by each successive administration since Ronald Reagan was President, as well as by numerous federal budget experts. Isakson has sponsored biennial budgeting proposals every year he's been in the Senate, while Shaheen has firsthand experience with the efficacy of biennial budgeting from her tenure as governor of New Hampshire, which operates on a two-year budget cycle. Twenty states operate under a biennial budgeting cycle.
Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Angus King (I-ME) have signed on as cosponsors.