WASHINGTON – Today, the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform conducted its first public hearing, Opportunities to Significantly Improve the Federal Budget Process. Witnesses at the hearing were Dr. Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Martha Coven, J.D. Following the hearing, the co-chairs Steve Womack (R-AR) and Nita Lowey (D-NY) issued the following statements:
“Having a functioning framework by which to decide budgetary outcomes is not a partisan issue,” said Republican co-chair Steve Womack. “The most important Constitutional duty entrusted to Congress is the power of the purse, and affirming that distinct role of the legislative branch is central to our work in this select committee. Regardless of what party holds the majority, Congress should have a process that works for the American people. I am encouraged by our discussions so far and grateful for the insights we gleaned today from outside experts. I am hopeful that our panel can identify and recommend significant reforms to make the budget and appropriations process functional.”
“This morning the Joint Select Committee had a good initial hearing, with helpful insights from two expert witnesses and a thoughtful discussion about ways to help make the budget process function better,” said Democrat co-chair Nita Lowey. “The discussion also underscored my concern that while some worthwhile improvements can be made to the process, we also need to find ways to overcome the deep policy disagreements and a lack of political will that are the root cause of many of our difficulties in acting on budgets and appropriations.”
The Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform was established by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which was signed into law on February 9, 2018. A bipartisan and bicameral panel tasked with considering and recommending reforms to the current budgeting and appropriations processes in Congress, the committee is comprised of 16 members, equally divided between the House and Senate. Four members each were appointed by the Speaker of the House, the Senate Majority Leader, the House Democratic Leader, and the Senate Democratic Leader. House Budget Committee Chairman Steve Womack (R-AR) and House Appropriations Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) were tapped to lead as co-chairs of this panel. Chairman Womack also serves on the House Appropriations Committee.
The select committee is required to hold public hearings and report recommendations and legislative text by November 30, 2018. For additional background on the select committee, including members appointed to the panel, click here.