CBO Testimony: Statement of Dan L. Crippen, Director Biennial Budgeting Before the Committee on Rules, US House of Representatives
CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE (U S CONGRESS) WASHINGTON DC
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This report discusses the idea of converting the annual budget process to a two-year cycle. Under the major proposals for biennial budgeting, the first session of each Congress would be devoted to budget action the Presidents budget, the budget resolution, and appropriation and reconciliation bills. The second session would focus on oversight of federal programs, authorizing legislation laws that set underlying policies for federal programs and that are generally a prerequisite for appropriations under House and Senate rules, and legislation needed to adjust budget laws for changing conditions or unforeseen events. Biennial federal budgeting is a relatively long-standing idea specific proposals date back to the late 1970s, and the battle lines over whether it should be adopted have been clearly drawn for some time. Proponents are convinced that devoting a separate session of Congress to authorizing and other nonbudget legislation would improve oversight of federal programs and ease the stresses under which lawmakers labor to complete action on the budget, especially appropriation acts. Opponents are as firmly convinced that a biennial budget cycle would lead to the use of large supplemental appropriation bills and other ad hoc measures to deal with unforeseen budget and economic changes and would shift the balance of budgetary power to the President.
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