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Shaheen and Braun Reintroduce Bipartisan Legislation to Reform the Broken Budget Process

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Mike Braun (R-IN) today reintroduced their bipartisan budget reform legislation that would overhaul the way Congress allocates federal dollars to strengthen oversight of government spending and pave the way to tackle the nation’s debt. The Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act would convert the annual appropriations process for federal tax dollars to a two-year budget cycle with one year devoted to appropriating federal dollars and the next year focused on oversight of how those dollars are being used in federal programs. This structure would provide greater certainty amidst the continued threat of a government shutdown and increase oversight, forcing Congress to become a better steward of taxpayers’ money. 

“With the continuous threat of a government shutdown, it’s time we change the process,” said Senator Shaheen. “Biennial budgeting would enable Congress to have a more bipartisan and effective budget process and would increase transparency for taxpayers. I saw firsthand as Governor that this type of budgeting works in New Hampshire, and it can work for the nation, increasing efficiency and reducing the waste of federal resources.” 

“We need to remove the drama from how we fund the government,” said Senator Braun. “This common-sense, bipartisan bill would add some much-needed guard rails on how Congress budgets and give Americans certainty that there won’t be a government shutdown.” 

The legislation would require the president to submit a two-year budget at the beginning of the first session of a new Congress. Members of Congress would then need to adopt a two-year budget resolution and two-year funding bills during that first session. The second session of a Congress would then be devoted to the oversight of federal programs and consideration of authorization bills. 

The biennial budgeting concept has been endorsed by Republican and Democratic presidents, as well as by numerous federal budget experts. Shaheen has firsthand experience with the efficacy of biennial budgeting from her tenure as governor of New Hampshire, which operates on a two-year budget cycle. Nineteen states operate under a biennial budgeting cycle. 

Along with Shaheen and Braun, 11 U.S. Senators have signed on to support the legislation, including U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tom Carper (D-DE), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) Joe Manchin (D-WV), John Barrasso (R-WY), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Eric Schmitt (R-MO). 

The full text of the legislation can be found here