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BUDGET PROCESS: Biennial Budgeting for the Federal Government

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Technical Report

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United States Government Accountability Office Washington United States

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I am pleased to present our testimony on the budget process changes contained in S. 1824, specifically the proposal to change the budget process from an annual to a biennial cycle. This change has often been suggested as a way to streamline the budget process and, by providing funding for a longer period of time, enhance agencies ability to manage their operations. While these are laudable goals, shifting the entire annual budget cycle to a biennial one is not necessary to achieve them. Certainly everyone involved in the budget process shares some frustration with it and wishes it could be shortened or less frequent. The public finds it confusing and executive branch agencies find it burdensome and time-consuming. Members of the Congress say the annual budget process seems too lengthy, with its many votes on authorizations, the budget resolution, reconciliation, appropriations, and the debt limit. And, too often, the results are not what was expected or hoped for.

Subject Categories:

  • Economics and Cost Analysis

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