Senator Johnny Isakson: A Solution to Our Broken Budget Process


Senator Johnny Isakson: A Solution to Our Broken Budget Process

isakson_email_header“There is new momentum to revamp Washington’s Groundhog Day-like budget process. The Senate’s recent vote to embrace a biennial budget… has significantly boosted the chances it could pass in this Congress.” —The Hill, “Momentum growing to revamp Washington’s ‘broken’ budget process,” March 30, 2013

According to a recent CNN poll*, as many as 67 percent of Americans disapprove of the way the president and Congress is currently handling the federal budget and the way the government raises and spends money. This figure does not come as a surprise—in fact, I’m surprised it isn’t higher. Washington has operated for several years without passing annual budgets and has appropriated through short-term continuing resolutions, which is Washington-speak for not doing our jobs. We continue to spend money through last-minute, haphazard deals and never do oversight or look for cost-benefit savings. As a result, we rack up trillion dollar deficits and don’t know where the money has been spent. Our nation’s debt is $16 trillion and rising.

That’s why in March of this year, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and I reintroduced bipartisan, commonsense legislation that would fundamentally reform Congress’ broken budgeting process. Our Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act would convert the annual spending process to a two-year budget cycle, forcing Congress to become better stewards of the taxpayers’ money by placing Congress on a two-year budget cycle with one year for appropriating federal dollars and the other year devoted to oversight of federal programs.

Biennial budgeting has been endorsed by each successive administration since Ronald Reagan was president, as well as by numerous federal budget experts. Sen. Shaheen has firsthand experience with the efficacy of biennial budgeting from her tenure as governor of New Hampshire. Currently, more than 20 states, including New Hampshire, operate on a two-year budget cycle.

I am proud to report that our legislation is gaining momentum.

On March 22, the Senate passed our legislation as an amendment to the Senate budget resolution with 68 votes, more than two-thirds of the Senate. Although the budget resolution is a non-binding blueprint, the vote on our amendment signals that there is broad bipartisan support for biennial budgeting and appropriations and that our standalone legislation that would have the effect of law has a good chance of passing in the Senate. When that happens, I will work with my former colleagues in the House to pass it there as well and get it to the President’s desk.

The passage of this amendment signaled a big win for the taxpayers of Georgia and the United States of America. I will continue to work tirelessly to bring about this much-needed reform that will force lawmakers in Washington to do our jobs and budget, appropriate, and conduct oversight. The American people demand that we come up with real solutions to make sure that we are good stewards of your tax dollars. You deserve no less from your federal government.

I do not take the position you have given me lightly. Serving Georgians is an honor and a lifetime commitment for me. If you appreciate my conservative, thoughtful and independent Georgia voice in our national dialogue, then I hope you will consider a donation to my 2016 campaign for reelection. Please click here to contribute today.


Johnny Isakson

U.S. Senator


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