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Isakson-Shaheen proposal gains critical backers

(Washington, D.C.) – Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-AL) indicated at a hearing today of their committee that they were prepared to support a transition to biennial budgeting, similar to the proposal from Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in their Biennial Budget Appropriations Act, S.211.

“Chairman Conrad and Ranking Member Sessions’ support is a critical step forward for biennial budgeting,” Shaheen said. “Nobody understands better than they the challenges of producing an annual budget and the value in a more thoughtful approach that allows for greater accountability and oversight. I appreciate their willingness to examine this proposal fully and lend their support.”

“I am very pleased that Chairman Conrad and Ranking Member Sessions have signaled their support for fixing our broken-down budgeting process through implementing a biennial budget,” said Isakson. “I have advocated this change every year since arriving in the Senate because it will provide much-needed oversight in the appropriations process and shift the paradigm in Washington to focus on how much Congress can save rather than on how much Congress can spend.”

Isakson and Shaheen introduced S.211 earlier this year. It would switch Congress from an annual spending process to a biennial, two-year cycle, dedicating one year to passing spending bills and the other year to scrutinizing federal programs. Since 1980, Congress has only twice completed the entire appropriations process before October 1.