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Biennial Budgeting: Bipartisan Idea Whose Time is Now

Washington, D.C. – Proposals to change the federal budget cycle from annual to biennial have a long bipartisan history in Congress, and all presidents from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama have supported this idea. Implementing such a reform would help smooth an increasingly turbulent budget process, G. William Hoagland, BPC senior vice president, said in testimony to the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform today.

“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,” Hoagland said.

“There are various approaches to biennial budgeting as the history has shown. Over the years my own thinking on this has evolved from not supporting to today supporting a split biennial budget and appropriation process,” he said. It would increase Congress’s productivity, strengthen congressional oversight, and provide greater predictability for federal agencies and programs.

“Biennial budgeting proposals have had bipartisan support over the last nearly 35 years. Variations in their formulation and mechanics obviously exist. But I believe those differences can be resolved if members truly wish to find an alternative to the current failing budget and appropriation process,” Hoagland said.

“Failure is not an option. It would be unfortunate if, once again, this special committee established to address budget process reform, fails to find consensus on at least a limited set of recommendations,” he said.

“Your time is short and the litany of reform proposals is long. But I believe one of those bipartisan reform’s time has come – biennial budgeting,” Hoagland said.

Read Hoagland’s full testimony >>>

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