Friday, March 22, 2013
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., today praised Senate passage of their amendment that would reform the current budget and appropriations system by converting it from a chaotic annual process to a two-year cycle. The amendment was adopted into the budget resolution being debated on the floor.
Isakson and Shaheen’s amendment, S.Amdt.138, was agreed to by a vote of 68 to 31. Since the budget resolution is a non-binding blueprint, Isakson and Shaheen also have introduced a standalone biennial budgeting bill, S.554, that would have the effect of law if passed. Today’s strong vote on their amendment to the budget resolution signals that there is broad bipartisan support for biennial budgeting and appropriations and that the Isakson-Shaheen bill would have a good chance of passing in the Senate.
This commonsense reform would force Congress to become better stewards of taxpayers’ money by placing Congress on a two-year budget cycle with one year devoted to appropriating federal dollars and the other year devoted to oversight of federal programs.
“I’m pleased that the Senate voted today in support of fixing our country’s broken budget process. We budget every year, we spend money every year, but we never do oversight or look for cost-benefit savings,” said Isakson. “The biennial budgeting process, which has been adopted by 20 of the 50 states in this country, is a process that will force lawmakers in Washington to do our jobs and budget, appropriate, and conduct oversight to make sure that we are good stewards of tax dollars.”
“Biennial budgeting gives us a better, more responsible way to address our debt and deficits by making our budget process smarter and more efficient,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’m glad the Senate supported this commonsense plan that would remove uncertainty that currently blunts economic growth but would also allow Congress to exercise better oversight and rein in excess spending.”
Biennial budgeting has been endorsed by each successive administration since Ronald Reagan was president, as well as by numerous federal budget experts. Isakson has sponsored biennial budgeting proposals every year he’s been in the Senate, while Shaheen has firsthand experience with the efficacy of biennial budgeting from her tenure as governor of New Hampshire. Currently, more than 20 states, including New Hampshire, operate on a two-year budget cycle.
Senators Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Susan Collins, R-Maine, John Cornyn, R-Texas, Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Angus King, I-Maine, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and David Vitter, R-La., are co-sponsors of S.Amdt.138.