Representative Reid Ribble (WI-08), a member of the House Budget Committee, introduced H.R. 1869, The Biennial Budgeting and Enhanced Oversight Act of 2013. This legislation would establish a two-year "biennial" budgeting cycle for the U.S. government. Budget resolutions and appropriations bills would be completed in the first year of each Congress and oversight and review processes would be conducted in the second year. This process would result in a more comprehensive review of the federal government's spending.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Senate approved an amendment supporting a new, federal biennial budgeting process by a bipartisan vote of 68-31. There are also 20 states, including Wisconsin, that currently use biennial budgeting.
"Congress has relied on short-term, stop-gap budget measures for almost three decades, said Ribble. "This dysfunctional approach has caused Washington to stumble from budget crisis to budget crisis and disregarded the proper use of taxpayer money. As one of government's most basic tasks, passing a budget prioritizes spending depending on the needs and values of our nation. The failure to do so is simply irresponsible and it's time to fix the problem and hold Washington accountable.
"In order to fix our nation's broken budget process, I introduced a bipartisan solution that will implement a framework for financial responsibility. Biennial budgeting would provide greater stability because deadlines and responsibilities would be broken down in a two-year cycle. Year one would be focused on drafting and executing a responsible budget plan for both years, while year two would be focused on performing detailed oversight of government agencies and programs. By providing enhanced oversight and a more orderly budget process, this will stop the spectacle of a Congress that wastes taxpayer dollars and budgets from crisis to crisis."
The Biennial Budgeting and Enhanced Oversight Act of 2013
-Establishes a two-year, "biennial" budgeting cycle for U.S. government
Year 1 of biennium (odd-numbered years): Congress would draft and adopt a budget plan covering the next two years. This plan would provide the framework for the consideration of legislation with fiscal implications over the course of the entire Congress.
-Year 2 of biennium (even-numbered years): Congress would focus on conducting detailed oversight of government agencies and programs.
-Biennial process would provide more budget stability and certainty by doing away with the current ad-hoc appropriation process. Federal departments and agencies would know a full year in advance the resources they will have available, giving them the ability to plan into the future and implement cost-saving measures to make the most of every dollar.