Rules Committee Builds Case For Biennial Budgeting

Rules Committee Builds Case For Biennial Budgeting
Administration Reiterates Support for Two-Year Federal Budget and Appropriations

WASHINGTON - Saying that "support is continuing to build for biennial budgeting," House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-CA) today welcomed testimony from Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew, Congressional Budget Office Director Dan Crippen and others on the potential budget reform proposal.

"Biennial budgeting is a reform whose time has come. The current system doesn't work well and everyone knows it," said Dreier, the co-chairman of the 1993 Joint Committee on the Organization of the Congress, which recommended biennial budgeting as a key reform. "Our goal is to streamline the budget process, enhance programmatic oversight, and strengthening the management of government programs and bureaucracies. Biennial budget reforms represent the most sweeping institutional reforms in 25 years."

"In sum, the primary potential benefit from biennial budgeting is that, by concentrating budget decisions in the first year of each two-year period, time would be freed up in the second year that could be redirected to management, long-range planning, and oversight," testified Lew.

Today's hearing was the second original jurisdiction hearing held by the Rules Committee on the subject of biennial budgeting. The previous hearing, held on February 16, 2000, was highlighted by testimony from the Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Young (R-FL) in favor of the reform.

A Dreier resolution in late November that supports the goals of biennial budgeting garnered over 240 cosponsors in both parties. Also testifying at today's hearing, which was broadcast live on C-SPAN, with the audio also being broadcast over the Internet on the Rules Committee's web site, were Sue Irving, Associate Director of Budget Issues of the General Accounting Office, and Lou Fisher, Senior Specialist in Separation of Powers at the Congressional Research Service. Various House and Senate biennial budgeting bills have been introduced which will:

  • devote the first Congressional session to the budget resolution and regular spending decisions.
  • keep the second session free of regular budget and appropriations decisions so as to devote more time and resources to authorization and programmatic oversight activities; and,
  • not alter the historic and constitutional checks and balances between the branches.