Rules Committee Kicks Off Biennial Budgeting Hearings

Rules Committee Kicks Off Biennial Budgeting Hearings
Speaker Hastert and Chairman Young Testify In Support of 2-Year Budgeting and Appropriations

WASHINGTON - Saying that support is building for biennial budgeting, House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-CA) opened a series of hearings today on this important reform, with Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and Appropriations Chairman Bill Young (R-FL) testifying that it will improve Congressional oversight, management and cost-effectiveness of federal spending programs.

"I want to thank Speaker Hastert and Chairman Young for their support of biennial budgeting," said Dreier, the co-chairman of the 1993 Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress, which recommended biennial budgeting as a key reform. "While nobody believes that biennial budgeting is the panacea for what ails the federal government, if done right, I believe such a process can promote a more effective government and a less chaotic and repetitive budget process at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. Enactment of a biennial budget process could lead to the most significant government-wide fiscal management reforms of the last quarter century."

"The current budget process is broken, and we need to fix it. A biennial budget process would free up more time on the calendar for thorough consideration of authorizing measures," said Speaker Hastert.

"We need more time than this to develop and enact appropriations bills. Biennial budgeting legislation should be developed to provide additional time for Congress to consider appropriations bills," Young said.

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, the audio of which was broadcast live over the Internet, were Rep. Dave Obey (D-WI), Rep. David Price (D-NC), Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH), Rep. Ralph Regula (R-CA) and Rep. Karen McCarthy (D-MO). Various House and Senate biennial budgeting bills have been introduced which will:

  • devote the first session of any Congress to the budget resolution and to regular appropriations 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,
  • does not alter the historic and constitutional checks and balances between the branches.