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Monday, October 7, 2013

Isakson Urges Congress to Adopt Biennial Budgeting System as Part of a Deal to End Government Shutdown

Isakson Says His Bipartisan 'Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act' Would Prevent Last-Minute Continuing Resolutions, Bring 'Discipline' and 'Responsibility' Back to Congress

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today on the Senate floor urged Congress to adopt a biennial budgeting system as part of any deal to end the current government shutdown. Isakson argued that a biennial budgeting system would help prevent the need for constant last-minute negotiations on continuing resolutions in the future by reforming the current budget and appropriations system by converting it from a chaotic annual process to a two-year cycle.

The Biennial Budgeting and Appropriation Act, S.554, which Isakson introduced earlier this year with Sen. Shaheen, D-N.H., would force Congress to become better stewards of the 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.

On the floor, Isakson expressed that the current government shutdown over the failure to reach agreement on a continuing resolution “is no way to run the greatest country on the face of this earth.” He argued that it’s time to try new solutions, such as biennial budgeting, to solve our fiscal problems.

Isakson said, “We are here today arguing over a continuing resolution that we shouldn’t have to argue over if we would have been budgeting and appropriating over the last four years. There is bipartisan responsibility for not having adopted budgets or appropriations acts.

“Let’s add a simple resolution to the CR that changes our way of doing business to a biennial budget. The Isakson-Shaheen ‘Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act’ forces Congress to do our regular order of business of appropriating and budgeting and puts back in place the kind of discipline and responsibility that we really need around this place. Instead of arguing about what we can’t agree upon, we ought to find common ground and run our country like America’s households run their families. If we had to do in Washington what every American family has to do, this would be a different place.”           

To watch a short video of Isakson’s full remarks, click here.

In March of this year, the Senate adopted the Isakson-Shaheen Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act as an amendment, S.Amdt.138, to the Senate-passed budget. It was agreed to by a vote of 68 to 31, signaling strong bipartisan support.

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.

The Isakson-Shaheen proposal has garnered the support of 17 co-sponsors, including Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Mark Begich, D-Alaska, Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Susan Collins, R-Maine, John Cornyn, R-Texas, Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, Tim Kaine, Va., Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Rob Portman, Ohio, and Mark Warner, D-Va.