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Mr. ISAKSON. I thank the Senator from Nebraska for the question and for his service. As a former Governor of the State of Nebraska, he knows full well the responsibility we have in terms of budgets. But I will tell you what the impact of no budget for 3 years is, no discipline for 3 years. The result of no discipline for 3 years is we spend $10.4 trillion without a budget.
I do not know how good you are with your memory, I do not know how good I am with mine, but if I do not have a budget or a guidepost to go by, and I am spending $10.4 trillion, I am making big mistakes. I am making big mistakes not with my money but with the money of the people of the United States of America.
Last night I did a telephone townhall back to Georgia. At one time we had a little over 3,200 callers on the line. Question after question, with a very simple question: How can you guys operate without a budget? Why can't you get a budget? Why can't you bring a budget to the floor.
The fact is it is because our budget requirements cast out 10 years of planning for taxes, 10 years of planning for expenditures, 10 years of planning for the government. A lot of people just do not want us to know what their plans are for the next 10 years.
But every American family in this county has had to sit around their kitchen table, reprioritize their expenditures, and budget what income they have because of difficult economic times. The government should ask of itself only what it forces upon all of its people.
I have a suggestion to consider, a suggestion that 20 of our 50 States practice. Forty percent of our State governments now have a biennial budget. It is a proposal that has been before this body for years. I am proud to be the cosponsor with Senator Jeanne Shaheen from New Hampshire. It is a budget process and a discipline that ends this no budget and also memorializes the most important thing we need to do and the least thing we do in this body; that is, oversight.
The biennial budget proposes we would do our budgeting in odd-numbered years and our appropriating in odd-numbered years and do it for a 2-year period rather than a 1-year period. Then, in the even-numbered year--an election year--we would do oversight of spending. We do not ever do any oversight.
The best oversight person in the Senate sits to my right. His name is Tom Coburn. He is going to be the closing act in this colloquy. He is going to show some pictures that cast a lot more than 1,000 words about the duplication of expenditures in this government, primarily because we have no oversight and we have no discipline. We go back at appropriations year after year after year but never look at justifying what we spent in the year before.
So to the Senator from Nebraska, I say to the people of Georgia and the people of the United States, I want to expect of myself and our government at least what is mandated upon you. I want us to begin to be accountable for our spending and hold accountable those who spend that money. I want us to do our appropriations in a balanced way, in a disciplined way, and never again go 1,000 days without a budget, never again have $10.4 trillion of spending without a budget, never again look the American people in the eye and say: I, as your government, am not willing to do what you must do.
It is absolutely time we stop the redundancy, start prioritizing, and start conducting oversight. When we do that, America will be better off, our fiscal policy will be better off, our debt and deficit will come down, and we will return to those days all of us yearn for, with better prosperity and absolute accountability.
I thank the Senator from Nebraska for giving me the opportunity to expound on the biennial budget.
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