Rules Committee Continues to Build Case For Biennial Budgeting

Rules Committee Continues to Build Case For Biennial Budgeting
Former Budget Committee Chairman and OMB Director Leon Panetta Testifies in Support of Budget Reform

WASHINGTON - Showcasing the broad support that is building for biennial budgeting, House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-CA) today welcomed testimony from former Representative, White House Chief of Staff and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Leon Panetta via video conference from Monterey, CA. Also testifying in support of the reform was former Representative Lee Hamilton, co-chairman of the 1993 Joint Committee on the Organization of the Congress.

"I am very gratified that Mr. Panetta went to such great lengths today to make his support of biennial budgeting known. His appearance via video conference underscores the importance of this debate," said Dreier, who also served as co-chairman of the 1993 Joint Committee, which recommended biennial budgeting as a key reform. "Today's hearing concluded a terrific series of hearings in which many experts in the budget process reiterated my view, and the view of many others, that biennial budgeting is a reform whose time has come. Our goal to streamline the budget process, enhance programmatic oversight, and strengthen the management of government programs and bureaucracies represents the most sweeping institutional reform in 25 years."

"A biennial budget system, built around the two year life of each Congress, offers a better way for Congress to commit itself to continuing fiscal discipline and to better planning for the coming years," said Panetta.

Today's hearing was the third original jurisdiction hearing held by the Rules Committee on the subject of biennial budgeting. The previous hearings, held on February 16, and March 10, 2000, were highlighted by testimony from the Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Young (R-FL), and current OMB Director Jack Lew 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. 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.

Also testifying at today's hearing, the audio of which was broadcast over the Internet on the Rules Committee's web site, were: Thomas E. Mann, W. Averell Harriman Senior Fellow in American Governance at the Brookings Institution; Professor Phil Joyce, Associate Professor of Public Administration, School of Business and Public Management, The George Washington University; Professor Charles Whalen, Senior Institute Economist, Institute for Industry Studies, Cornell University; Professor Roy T. Meyers, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; The Honorable Bill Frenzel, Committee for a Responsible Budget; Robert Bixby, Executive Director of the Concord Coalition; James Horney, Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Dr. Martin Regalia, Vice President of Economic Policy and Chief Economist, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and Ronald Snell, Economic and Fiscal Division Director of the National Conference of State Legislatures.