The Senate Budget Committee today approved bipartisan budget reforms sponsored by Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to fix the government’s broken budget process. The bill, S.2765 – the Bipartisan Congressional Budget Reform Act, would provide a more orderly and deliberative budget process focused on long-term fiscal planning. The historic measure approved today represents the first bipartisan budget reforms approved by the Senate Budget Committee since 1990.
“This legislation would take several positive steps toward a more active, thoughtful, and functional budget process,” said Chairman Enzi. “It represents a package of necessary, pragmatic, and significant reforms that do not tilt the scales toward any one party, ideology, or policy outcome. This is an important step in the right direction as we all look to become better stewards of taxpayer dollars.”
“I’m proud to have worked with Chairman Enzi on budget reform to help Congress establish a long-term plan to address our nation’s deficits and debt,” said Senator Whitehouse. “Our bill includes the first-ever process for bipartisan work on the budget, which would look at the main drivers of federal deficits: revenue levels, tax spending, health spending, and annual appropriated spending. It would also take a much-needed step in neutralizing the threat of a federal debt default.”
Enzi noted that since 2015, the committee has held more than a dozen hearings on the topic of budget process reform, soliciting expert testimony from a variety of sources including economists, academics, state and local leaders, and former Chairs of the Budget Committee.
He said the bill would:
- Reorient the budget resolution to a two-year cycle, which would allow more time to develop and enforce the budget;
- Ensure that Congress has better information on which to base budgets at the start of the budget cycle;
- Make a number of important reforms to the contents of the budget resolution, including integrating longer term fiscal targets;
- Generate legislation that would go directly to the President to conform the debt limit to the budget resolution levels, which could help minimize the threat of default;
- Create a new special reconciliation process that could be used only for reducing the deficit;
- Provide an optional pathway to pass a bipartisan budget resolution; and
- Prioritize fiscal transparency by requiring the public posting of up-to-date scorekeeping tabulations to allow the American people to track Congress’s adherence to its budget plan.
Cosponsoring the bill are Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Angus King (I-ME), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chris Coons (D-DE), John Barrasso (R-WY), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Ron Johnson (R-WI), David Perdue (R-GA), John Kennedy (R-LA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Braun (R-IN), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Rick Scott (R-FL).