House Budget Committee Chairman, Ranking Member Introduce Bipartisan Budget Reform Legislation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Budget Committee Chairman Steve Womack (AR-3) and House Budget Committee Ranking Member John Yarmuth (KY-3) today introduced H.R. 7191, the Bipartisan Budget and Appropriations Process Reform Act of 2018. The bill serves as an important vehicle to consider the final package of bipartisan recommendations voted on by the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform which, despite the hard work of members from both parties, failed to advance out of committee.
Chairman Womack: “The most important role given to Congress under the Constitution is the power of the purse, yet we regularly and repeatedly cede our responsibility to fulfill this essential duty. In fact, we are on the precipice of doing so again. In eight short days, the Federal Government is facing a partial shutdown, and Congress is at a standstill on a funding agreement. Clearly our budget process is broken. While this legislation is not a silver bullet, it includes the proven bipartisan reforms developed by the Joint Select Committee and begins to takes steps necessary to improve the federal funding process. I am proud to introduce it with Mr. Yarmuth, a true process reform leader.”
Ranking Member Yarmuth: “I voted to report the Joint Select Committee’s bill because it represents a serious effort to work across party lines and improve the budget process in Congress. Although we were not able to get it across the finish line in committee, I’m proud to sponsor legislation with Congressman Womack that includes many of the bipartisan reforms the committee worked on collaboratively. It does not replace the heavy-lifting we must do to address our nation’s long-term fiscal challenges, but I hope we can build on this effort to address the needs of the American people in the new Congress.”
The bill contains the Joint Select Committee’s bipartisan recommendations relevant to the House of Representatives, including:
- Biennial Budget Resolutions: Establishes a biennial budget process by requiring budget resolutions to cover at least two years, or a biennium, while maintaining annual appropriations. Specifically, the budget resolution would provide two years of allocations to the Committees on Appropriations, which would then provide topline discretionary spending levels for each fiscal year of a biennium.
- Annual Reconciliation: Preserves annual reconciliation under a biennial budget process.
- Congressional Budget Completion Date: Amends the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 to require Congress to complete action on the concurrent resolution on or before May 1 of each odd-numbered year.
- Annual Supplemental Budget Submission: Requires the Executive Branch to submit an Annual Supplemental Budget, which includes prior and current year fiscal data and credit re-estimates for the current year, separate from the President’s policy proposals no later than December 1 of each calendar year to allow for additional time to develop the Congressional Budget Office’s baseline, Congress’s budget resolution, and various appropriations bills.
- House Budget Committee Membership: Recommends the repeal of required term limits for service on the House Budget Committee beginning in the 116th Congress.
- Fiscal State of the Nation: Requires the Budget Committees of the House and Senate to hold a biennial, joint hearing with testimony from the Comptroller General of the United States regarding the audited financial statement of the Executive Branch.
- Tax Expenditures: Includes tax expenditures as an optional item in the budget resolution to provide greater transparency in the federal budget.
The final text of the bill can be found here.
Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) has represented Arkansas’s Third Congressional District since 2011. He serves as the Chairman of the House Committee on the Budget and is a member of the House Appropriations defense, military construction-veterans affairs, and labor-health and human services subcommittees.
Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) has represented Kentucky’s Third Congressional District since 2007. He serves as the Ranking Member of the House Committee on the Budget.