BUDGET BULLETIN: Overview of Senate Budget Process Reform Proposals

WASHINGTON, DC – The Senate Budget Committee today released its May 12, 2016, Budget Bulletin focused on various budget process reform proposals introduced in the Senate. The Budget Bulletin provides regular expert articles by Senate Budget Committee analysts on the issues before Congress relating to the budget, deficits, debt, and the economy.

Read the full Senate Budget Bulletin here.

Excerpts follow:

Over the course of the 114th Congress, a number of senators have offered their own new ideas and solutions. This Bulletin presents an overview of Senate proposals meant to improve and reinvigorate the congressional budget process.

Appropriations Reforms

One of the biggest frustrations regarding the appropriations process has been its departure from regular order. Instead of passing all 12 regular appropriations bills prior to the start of the fiscal year, Congress routinely resorts to late appropriations and omnibus measures. Fortunately, this year the Senate began floor debate on appropriations earlier than it has in any of the past 40 years. If this concerted effort to return to regular order succeeds, it would address some of the uncertainty and dysfunction that the following reforms aim to prevent.

Budget Concepts

The last commission to conduct a comprehensive review of federal budget concepts concluded its work in 1967, nearly 50 years ago. As such, many of the rules governing the federal budget today are outdated or have proven flawed, depriving Congress of the most accurate information with which to make budget decisions and undermining budget enforcement rules meant to limit federal spending.

Incentivizing Congressional Budgeting

Prior to 1998, Congress never failed to adopt a budget resolution as required under the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. In the last 15 years, Congress has failed to adopt a budget more than half of the time.

Regulatory Reform

Federal regulations impose significant economic costs on government, businesses, and individuals. Several committees and senators have held hearings and introduced legislation aimed at reducing this regulatory burden by establishing better economic analysis of the cost of regulation and implementing some form of regulatory budgeting.

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