The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 was a bad deal that added significantly to the national debt, which was already on an unsustainable course. One small consolation was the creation of a special committee to recommend reforms to improve the broken federal budget and government spending process.
The new congressional Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform should not be a wasted opportunity.
The budget process is seriously dysfunctional. Deadlines are often missed and a cohesive budget is rarely achieved. And there is little transparency in the process or accountability for the failures. Five major problems with the budget process are outlined here.
In fact, in only four years since fiscal year 1977 has the federal government been fully funded on time without the need for any temporary spending measures. The last time this happened was over 20 years ago, in fiscal year 1997.
The budget process is utterly failing as the national debt is rising towards levels never seen before. Gross national debt recently surpassed $21 trillion for the first time ever. And trillion-dollar deficits are now expected to return by 2020.
A broken budget process not only makes it much more difficult to address skyrocketing national debt, but also contributes to the general dysfunction in Washington. While fixing the budget process won’t fix the debt by itself, it could be a big step in addressing our fiscal problems.
The 16-member committee is comprised of an equal number of Republicans and Democrats and is also evenly split among House and Senate members. It held its first meeting on March 8.
The bipartisan committee must conduct at least 5 public hearings or meetings and report recommendations by November 30, 2018. Proposals that receive majority support among members of each party will receive expedited consideration in Congress.
Members of the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform:
Roy Blunt (MO)
David Perdue (GA)
James Lankford (OK)
Joni Ernst (IA)
Michael Bennet (CO)
Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)
Brian Schatz (HI)
Mazie Hirono (HI)
Steve Womack (*Chair) (AR)
Pete Sessions (TX)
Rob Woodall (GA)
Jodey Arrington (TX)
Nita Lowey (*Chair) (NY)
John Yarmuth (KY)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA)
Derek Kilmer (WA)
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