February 08, 2017

Warner & Kaine Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill To Reform Congressional Budgeting

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, U.S. Senators Mark. R Warner and Tim Kaine reintroduced bipartisan budget reform legislation that would shake up the way Congress budgets federal tax dollars and allow for greater oversight of government spending. The legislation would convert Congress’s annual appropriations process to a two-year budget cycle. The Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act would force Congress to become a better steward of the taxpayers’ money by moving the federal government to a two-year budget cycle, with one year for appropriating federal dollars and the other year devoted to oversight of federal programs. As Governors of Virginia, Warner and Kaine both used a biennial budgeting process.

“Our current budget process is broken. Time and time again Congress resorts to passing continuing resolutions and omnibus bills at the last minute instead of properly examining and debating our federal spending,” said Warner. “Budgeting on a two-year timeframe is a commonsense way to provide more oversight of federal spending and a more thoughtful approach to the entire budget process.”  

“Virginia operates on a two-year budget cycle, so we understand that biennial budgeting is a proven model the federal government should adopt in order to achieve normal budget order and give certainty to families and businesses,” said Kaine. “This bipartisan proposal would reduce last-minute crisis budgeting and improve the overall appropriations process.”

The legislation requires the president to submit a two-year budget at the beginning of the first session of a Congress. Members of Congress would then need to adopt a two-year budget resolution and two-year appropriations bills during that first session. The second session of a Congress would then be devoted to the consideration of authorization bills and oversight of federal programs. This proposal has received strong bipartisan support in the past. In 2013, it passed by a 68-31 vote in the Senate as an amendment to that year’s budget resolution, which is a non-binding blueprint.

Joining Warner and Kaine in supporting the legislation are U.S. Senators Jonny Isakson, R-Ga., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Tom Carper, D-Del., Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio.