Emphasizing the nation’s fiscal challenges, Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert L. Bixby recently told the Senate Budget Committee that reforms in the budget process could help elected officials better meet those challenges.
Bixby focused in particular on the benefits of moving to a 2-year budget cycle that would allow more time for oversight and long-term planning than the current annual cycle does. A number of the committee’s members from both parties expressed support for this concept.
Bixby, who also testified on biennial budgeting last year before a House panel, pointed out at last Wednesday’s hearing that the congressional budget process has repeatedly broken down. He noted that Congress had completed all 12 of its appropriations bills in only four of the last 41 years.
“Budget process reform is not a substitute for a serious plan to address the significant fiscal challenges facing the nation,” Bixby said. “However, common-sense reforms to the budget process can turn lawmakers’ attention to the kinds of long-term planning and strategic discussion that may yield true fiscal reform.”
Responding to questions from committee members, Bixby said that if biennial budgeting were adopted, the 2-year cycle should apply to both the congressional budget resolution and the appropriations process.