Enzi: Healthy Budget Process Strengthens Democracy

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, held a hearing on the need to take action on reforming the federal budget process.

Testifying were Michael Peterson, President and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and Dr. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President of the American Action Forum and former director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

“A well-functioning budget process strengthens democracy by giving citizens a better understanding of government’s role, which provides them with the knowledge that their tax dollars are being spent wisely. When the process breaks down, so do the people’s faith in government and their elected officials.” – Senator Mike Enzi.

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Enzi noted that regular order has been incredibly rare in the budget process and that Congress has passed budget resolutions in less than half of the last 15 fiscal years.  Prior to this year’s balanced budget resolution, the last time Congress passed a 10-year balanced budget was in 2001.

Enzi said over the past 40 years, the appropriations process has been completed on time in only four fiscal years. In 15 of those years, not one appropriations bill was enacted on time.  Instead, since 1977, Congress enacted 173 short-term spending bills for an average of 186 days per year – over half the year.

“Hardworking Americans yearn for a government that is both accountable and effective,” Enzi said. “This is why it is critical to reform the federal budget process by encouraging regular order and predictability, active legislative oversight, and spending transparency, all critical ingredients to strengthening our democracy and reducing our nation’s unsustainable spending and debt.”