January 10, 2019
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and
Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) introduced bipartisan legislation yesterday to reform
the congressional budget process, encourage working across the aisle, and
create a path to sustainable debt levels. The bill continues the work the two
senators did on the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process
Reform last Congress.
“If there’s one thing nearly all Members of Congress can agree on, it’s that our budget process is broken,” said Blunt. “This bill would take several steps to reform the process. With biennial budgeting, it would increase oversight and help federal agencies plan for the future, just as every American family and business must do. Most importantly, it would encourage both parties to work together to rein in rising debt and deficits, which will weigh down our economy over the long term. I’m glad to join Senator Whitehouse and our House colleagues in continuing our efforts to bring much-needed reform to the budget process.”
“It was an honor to work with members of both chambers from both parties toward long-overdue budget reform. Now, I’m proud to continue that important mission with Senator Blunt and our House colleagues,” said Whitehouse. “A budget should be a roadmap for the responsible management of the nation’s finances, not a partisan showcase for political stunts. Our bill would help restore meaning to the congressional budget process and the Senate Budget Committee by charting a bipartisan course for budget work.”
“The federal budget process is undeniably broken. Last year’s Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform efforts to begin addressing its many shortcomings were a bright spot of bipartisanship,” said Congressman Steve Womack (Ark.), who led the Select Committee. “I thank Senator Whitehouse and Senator Blunt for their continued commitment to working across the aisle and to improving the budget and appropriations process to ensure Congress can fulfill the most essential role entrusted to us by the Constitution: the power of the purse.”
The Bipartisan Budget and Appropriations Reform Act of 2019 would take a number of steps to reduce the rancor and dysfunction that has dominated congressional budgeting. It would move to biennial budgeting; create an optional pathway in the Senate for bipartisan budgets; require an annual hearing on the fiscal state of the nation; and remove the president from the congressional budget timeline.