Enzi: Fixing Broken Budget Process Can Help Address Runaway Spending and Debt

WASHINGTON D.C. – During a hearing today focused on fixing the broken budget process and restoring stability to government operations, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) said that improving the broken budget process could help America succeed in addressing runaway spending and our explosive national debt.

“America’s current budget process is designed to fail. It is time to focus on creating a transparent, accountable, and predictable process that actually fits the problem,” said Chairman Enzi.  “Even small changes can begin to help our country succeed in addressing its runaway spending and our exploding national debt.”

Enzi noted that nearly every aspect of the current budget process is riddled with uncertainty. He pointed to the annual budget resolution that should serve as a long-term planning document that signals to stakeholders how Congress will allocate the country’s limited resources.  Instead, he said, it currently has little bearing on the tax and spending decisions Congress must make every year. Annual appropriations bills in Congress are chronically late and have not passed through regular order in over 20 years.

There’s also significant uncertainty generated by the government’s future overspending, said Enzi.  The Congressional Budget Office states the government’s continued overspending will add $11 trillion in additional debt in the next 10 years as entitlements begin to take over the budget.  Even more alarming, the annual interest costs on America’s debt alone will total $839 billion per year in just 10 short years, which is more than the nation spends on defense and education annually. 

“An effective budget would enforce long-term spending discipline so that agencies, businesses, and constituents can plan accordingly,” Chairman Enzi said.  “At the agency level, government managers should be held accountable for performance.  And inadequate results should trigger increased scrutiny and program review.  A longer appropriations cycle would also reduce uncertainty.  If Congress enacted two years of funding in appropriations bills, agencies could plan for two years, rather than one year.  And they could spend less time formulating new budgets and worrying what Congress will do in the next fiscal year.” 

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