Enzi Gains Support From Outside Congress for Budget Overhaul

A bipartisan group that advocates changes in the budget process expressed support Thursday for several that were suggested by Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget released a paper explaining why it backs Enzi’s proposals to end the vote-a-rama practice, set aside dedicated time to consider appropriations bills and make the Senate budget resolution and amendments available in advance, among other proposals.

Enzi, R-Wyo., released a dozen or so proposals in July that he said would improve the budget process and enjoyed some level of bipartisan support on the committee.

In the paper, the CRFB applauded Enzi’s proposal, among others, to overhaul the framework for budget points of order. Points of order are aimed at making it harder to spend more or raise less in taxes than allowed in the budget resolution. Because it takes the same number of votes to waive a point of order as to end debate on a bill — three-fifths of the Senate — some people say points of order have little power.

Enzi proposed automatically waiving points of order for small violations of the budget but increasing the threshold to two-thirds of the Senate to waive points of order for “large amounts of new spending or revenue losses” that violate the budget.

According to the CRFB, the current Congress has passed legislation that added more than $1 trillion to the national debt after adopting a fiscal 2016 budget resolution (S Con Res 11) that called for $5 trillion in savings in part as a result of waiving or not even raising budget points of order, the group said.

“If the budget resolution is to be a meaningful document imposing fiscal discipline, it should also be harder to pass legislation that violates the budget resolution than to pass legislation that complies with it,” the CRFB said.

By:  Paul M. Krawzak
Source: CQ Roll Call