Alexander: It’s Time to Fix Our Broken Budgeting Process

Calls on Congress to Adopt Two-Year Budgeting

Posted on February 13, 2008

“A two-year budget process would force Congress to spend more time fixing or repealing broken programs and less time spending taxpayer dollars.” U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, today joined Republican senators at a press conference to urge Congress to pass legislation aimed at fixing broken programs and eliminating unnecessary government spending through the adoption of a two-year budget process. “We need to change the way we do business in Washington, and we can start by tackling wasteful spending,” said Alexander, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “A two-year budget process would force Congress to spend more time fixing or repealing broken programs and less time spending taxpayer dollars. Biennial budgeting is a good first step toward fixing our broken budgeting process.” Over the past several years, Congress has routinely failed to pass its individual appropriations bills by the end of the fiscal year. This has forced Congress to pass stop-gap legislation to keep the government operating or giant “omnibus” appropriations bills (multiple spending bills rolled into one larger bill) containing costly, unrelated provisions that avoid the scrutiny they would get if considered during the normal appropriations process. The Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act mandates that Congress spend the first session of each Congress considering and adopting a two-year budget resolution and two-year appropriations bills. The second session would then focus on reviewing the policies and programs funded in the budget. Alexander has been a supporter of earlier versions of this legislation. In 2005, Alexander was an original co-sponsor of S. 877, the Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act. In 2006 and 2007, he was an original co-sponsor of S. 3521 and S.15, the Stop Over Spending (SOS) Act, a package of budgetary reforms that included biennial budgeting. “There are plenty of pressures in Washington to spend more money and create new programs,” Alexander concluded. “Two-year budgeting would create a counterpressure for oversight, a review of spending, and the elimination of wasteful programs.” The Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act (S. 2627) was introduced today by Senator Pete Domenici. Co-sponsors of the bill include Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Policy Committee Chairman Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), and Senators Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), George Voinovich (R-Ohio), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).