As the New Fiscal Year Approaches Without a Spending Plan, Sen. Perdue Has a Proposal to Fix the Budget Process

Congress heads back to Washington today after an extra long August recess due to the July party conventions. The biggest item on its plate is finalizing appropriations for fiscal 2017, which begins on October 1st. That leaves four short weeks to get the job done. Senator David Perdue, who sits on the Senate Budget Committee and has been a strong advocate for budget and spending reform is frustrated.

Only three of the twelve appropriations bills have passed the Senate, and the chances of more passing are unlikely. Due to gridlock in the House and Senate, Perdue predicts a continuing resolution will pass to prevent a government shutdown, followed by an omnibus spending bill. Whether that omnibus bill lasts long enough to get to the new year and past the inauguration of the next president or whether it will last for the rest of the fiscal year is up for discussion, with Senator Perdue expecting the former.

The blame for yet another year-end battle over spending, according to Perdue, is the budget process that occurs in the Spring that he says has only worked four times since it started.

Senator Perdue plans to introduce a bill this month to revise the way budgeting, and by extension appropriations, works. The bill will have three major principles. First, everything the government spends must be in the budget, including what is considered mandatory spending such as Social Security and other entitlements. The second principle is that the annual budget must be approved by both parties and signed into law. Currently, the budget is a resolution that is essentially written by the majority party with little help from the minority, and frequently varies from the President’s proposed budget. Finally, Perdue is calling for severe consequences unless Congress can pass its spending bills in time. He wants to set a June 30th deadline for passing spending bills for the year beginning in October. Failure to meet that deadline would result in Senators and their staff not being paid until the government is properly funded.

Perdue claims that there is support on both sides of the aisle for such a proposal, which would allow the parties to debate spending priorities at the beginning of the year. He calls the proposals a politically neutral platform developed by members of the House and Senate.

Senator Perdue isn’t sure whether the proposed bill will advance and become law. He says there is a lot of behind the scenes support for his proposals. He hopes that the gridlock in Washington that results in a mad dash to produce an omnibus spending bill has frustrated leadership as well as rank-and-file members will allow his proposal to come to the floor for a vote.

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bethebalance
bethebalance

the proposal to make the budget a law would likely result in the same shut-down partisan conflict that already exists, just placing that earlier in the budget cycle. the idea that congress women and men would put their personal funds on the line, in light of any number of possible policy conflicts… unlikely at best. and while it seems like, they shouldn’t get paid if they’re not doing their jobs, what that would truly incentivize is compromise over policy, for fear of losing a paycheck. so they would still not be doing their job. the first idea- of creating one… Read more »

ScottNAtlanta
ScottNAtlanta

Perdue has no idea how money creation and destruction works (he doesnt), and it just shows how broken government really is that he is actually on the budget committee. That being said, the biggest mistake Congress made in a very long time (and that is a mighty high hurdle) was eliminating earmarks. You had a bunch of people who knew nothing of the process who rode a wave anti spending rhetoric. The problem with people that supported the know nothing approach was that it was everyone else’s spending that needed to be cut…not theirs. Anyhow these people elected in this… Read more »

Benevolus
Benevolus

I agree with the earmark comment. I think people were under the impression that eliminating earmarks would reduce spending, but it doesn’t. It just shifts who get to decide where to spend the money, often to the executive branch. A least that’s how I understand it.