Chairman Enzi: Budget Process Reform Efforts Will Continue

WASHINGTON D.C. – During a speech on the floor of the United States Senate, Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, outlined his plans to begin fixing the broken budget and appropriations process in the new Congress. 

“I have always believed that changes to the broken budget and spending process must be guided by two core principles. Reforms should end brinksmanship and the threat of government shutdowns, and they should guide us to create enforceable plans to stop the outrageous growth of our federal debt, which is approaching $22 trillion,” Chairman Enzi said.  “Our budget problems are too severe to put off any longer, yet our dysfunctional budget and appropriations process is making it harder for Congress to tackle our pressing fiscal challenges.” 

In his floor speech, Enzi noted that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, federal debt held by the public is at its highest level as a percentage of our economy since shortly after World War II, and that debt is expected to rise sharply over the next 30 years if current policies remain in place. Enzi said the existing annual spending process puts Congress on a nearly perpetual quest to pass 12 funding bills for the next fiscal year to avoid a funding lapse. In the past 40 years, Enzi remarked, Congress has succeeded in passing all appropriations bills on time only four times.

Specifically, Enzi proposes moving to a biennial spending system, halving the number of appropriations bills considered each year, so that six would be considered in the first session of a Congress and six in the second.  He also suggests creating binding fiscal targets that are monitored and enforced annually to ensure lawmakers stay focused on deficit reduction.

“By providing a more realistic and attainable schedule, we could allow for a more thoughtful process for considering individual bills, free up more time for oversight of federal spending, and reduce the likelihood of continuing resolutions and large, year-end spending bills that are inefficient and too often loaded with waste,” said Enzi.  “Improving our process will help control spending and meet our constitutional obligations. Most importantly, we need leadership and a commitment from both sides to work together to do what we know needs to be done to confront these fiscal challenges.”

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View Chairman Enzi’s remarks here.