Once again, the Congressional budget process broke down this year. The fiscal year ended last month without Congress passing a budget resolution or a single appropriations bill for the new fiscal year. Cliff Isenberg, chief budget counsel for The Concord Coalition, sees merit in a reform proposal -- biennial budgeting – that would convert the budget and appropriations process into a two-year cycle.
A two-year cycle alone is no magic bullet, Isenberg wrote in a recent article in The Hill’s Congress Blog. It is no substitute for making tough decisions. But as part of a comprehensive plan to reform the budget process and reassess government priorities, he writes, it would be a sensible step that could avoid repetitious debates on Capitol Hill and provide more time for better congressional oversight and long-range planning.
“Biennial budgeting could also improve the efficiency of agencies where preparing detailed budget documents has become a year-round process,” Isenberg adds. “If less time were spent preparing budgets, more resources could be shifted to long-term management and oversight.”