July 15, 2014
The Honorable Shaun Donovan
Office of Management and Budget
301 G Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20024
Dear Director Donovan:
We congratulate you on your recent confirmation as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Our country faces many fiscal and budgetary challenges and your agency will play an important role in addressing those challenges.
We write as a bipartisan, bicameral group of Members of Congress to offer some thoughts on how to improve the current federal budget process. Specifically, we support converting to a biennial budgeting system, which would help to ensure budget discipline and a timely budget process. We believe biennial budgeting would allow Congress to work on a more manageable budget and appropriations schedule while also providing agencies more time to plan and implement the programs that Congress authorizes. Congress and the Administration would then be able to accurately gauge the effectiveness of federal programs to promote more efficient uses of taxpayer funds.
As you may know, the current Congress has made great strides on this concept. This past February, the House Budget Committee approved the Biennial Budgeting and Enhanced Oversight Act, H.R.1869 (Ribble/Schrader) on a strong bipartisan vote of twenty-two to ten after amassing 142 bipartisan cosponsors. In the Senate, the Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act, S.554 (Isakson/Shaheen) has twenty-two bipartisan co-sponsors. In addition, sixty-eight Senators voted for an amendment to S.Con.Res.8, the Fiscal Year 2014 Senate Budget Resolution, which would establish a biennial budget and appropriations process.
Such strong bipartisan congressional support underscores the urgent need for responsible reforms to the Federal budget process. We believe that Presidential leadership could help move this bipartisan idea even further. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, a former OMB Director, has supported biennial budgeting in the past and has recently made favorable remarks to the House Budget Committee.
To that end, we are interested in any thoughts and insights you may have about the benefits of biennial budgeting and other process reforms. As OMB Director, you will play an important role in shaping the Administration's thinking on this topic, so we are eager to hear from you.
Thank you for your attention to this issue. We look forward to your response and stand ready to work with you on this important budget process and policy reform.