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Testimony by BPC Senior Vice President Bill Hoagland to the House Budget Committee on Improving the Budget Process

By G. William Hoagland

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

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“At the outset let me reiterate what so many others have stated before this committee over the years—that no process changes will make your decisions any easier. Budgeting is governing and governing is challenging. But I do truly believe if political leaders want to find agreement on a federal budget resolution, one that is enforceable and addresses the fiscal challenges confronting this country, it is possible.

“However, I have also come to the conclusion that changes to the current budget process will be necessary if you are to achieve that goal. Our current budget procedures, rules, concepts, and processes are so complex that members and their staffs find them hard to understand, let alone the American taxpayer. I must admit with some remorse that as one who participated in numerous budget process and scorekeeping discussions, I may have added to that complexity, for which I apologize.

“To the purpose of this hearing—fulfilling the budget resolution and enforcing the final product. It goes without saying that to fulfill the goals of a budget resolution, a budget resolution agreement must first be adopted. Unfortunately, over the last 19 years the Congress has failed to achieve its basic responsibility of adopting a budget for the United States government ten times, if we include this year.

“It is also true that over this same time period only once has Congress completed all appropriation bills on time. That was in 1997. So even when a budget resolution has been adopted, there is no assurance that the appropriation process will be completed on time.”

KEYWORDS: BILL HOAGLAND, HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE, 114TH CONGRESS

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