Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) have introduced legislation to convert the annual budget and appropriations process into a two-year cycle. Under the Biennial Budget Appropriations Act (S. 211), the first year of the process would be dedicated to appropriations and the second year would be reserved for oversight.
Isakson said "We must rein in spending, reform our broken appropriations process and require that Congress conduct oversight of federal programs on a regular basis." Shaheen described their proposal as "a critical tool for improving legislative and agency review of government programs, so that we're not just spending blindly, but analyzing what works and what doesn't."
For several years, The Concord Coalition has called on Congress to seriously consider biennial budgeting. As part of a comprehensive plan to reform the budget process, the tax code, and spending, biennial budgeting is a sensible proposal that could shift time and resources from repetitious debates toward increased oversight. It could also result in a more orderly process and fewer opportunities for fiscal irresponsibility. It won't make trillion-dollar deficits disappear, but it would be a step in the right direction.