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Concurrent Resolution on the Budget, Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Unknown

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Mr. ISAKSON. Mr. President, I appreciate the recognition, and I ask unanimous consent--I was going to ask that Senator Shaheen be allowed to follow me. She is on the floor now and so she will.

I am pleased to stand and talk about amendment No. 138, sponsored by Senator Shaheen of New Hampshire and myself. It is a solution to a problem we have in this country and we have in this body. The problem is we have not been able to appropriate; we have not been able to budget. Our debts and deficits have grown, and it has turned into a situation where we do not function as well as we should over the most important responsibility of government; that is, spending money.

For one second I wish to talk about my side. Then I will defer to a lady who has been there and done that, because the State of New Hampshire is a biennial budgeting State.

We have a process problem. We budget every year, we spend money every year, but we never do oversight, we never look for cost-benefit savings, and we never look at analysis. This biennial budgeting amendment does the following things:

No. 1, it amends the Budget Act to require the Congress to do a 2-year budget, not a 1-year budget; No. 2, and followed by that, it requires them to do 2-year appropriations bills, not 1-year appropriations.

The appropriations bills and the budget are passed in the first year of a Congress, which means the odd-number year. In the even-number year, it is dedicated to oversight, efficiency, and cost-benefit analysis, something we do far too little of in this body and far too little of in this country.

Wouldn't it be nice to have elections every even-numbered year where Members of Congress were running for office based on the savings they are going to find, the efficiency they will create, and the accountability they will have in appropriations, rather than talking about how much more bacon they are going to bring home or how much more money they will spend.

This legislation creates a new majority point of order against any amendment that is not confined and coordinated with the 2-year budget process and the 2-year appropriations process.

I have been in Washington 15 years, and we have gotten into the business of when we do appropriations bills, they are omnibus; and when we do budgets, which we haven't done in 3 years, they end up being more of an argument over political philosophy than a practical roadmap for the American people.

The biennial budgeting process, which has been adopted by 20 of the 50 States in this country, is a process that will work and will force us to do what we know our job is--to appropriate, to budget, and then to conduct oversight to make sure the money we are spending is efficient.

One side note before I yield to Senator Shaheen. The State of Israel, 3 years ago--4 years ago--was having difficulty with deficits and debt. They went to the World Bank for advice and consultation and they recommended--the World Bank did--that they adopt a biennial budget process and a biennial appropriations process. In the 3 years since that time, while operating under those principles, they have gone from deficits to surpluses, and they have gone from debt to a lower debt. In other words, it has worked in Israel, it worked in a democracy, it works in 20 of our 50 States, and it can work in the United States of America.

Every President since Ronald Reagan has endorsed the biennial budget. Members of the Cabinet of the President who were nominated and have been confirmed have endorsed a biennial budget. Pete Domenici started this process 15 years ago, and we want to bring it to a conclusion this year. So I urge my colleagues to support and adopt amendment No. 138, creating a biennial budget process and accountability for our appropriations.

I yield the floor now to the Senator from New Hampshire, who has been there and done this in her State, and she is a great partner with me in this bipartisan amendment for success in this Congress.

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