U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., introduced legislation this week that would allow Congress to scrutinize spending details and eliminate duplication and waste. He is also cosponsoring a Balanced Budget Constitutional amendment.
Similar to how the Wyoming Legislature works, Enzi’s Biennial Appropriations bill would force the federal government to budget over a two-year period, instead of the one-year window as it does now.
“It has been a long time since Congress looked at spending across the board,” said Enzi. “Ideally, Congress should debate legislation, vote on amendments and pass 12 separate appropriations bills. Congress hasn’t passed all 12 separate spending bills since 1996. That’s 19 years without substantial debate on how our money is being spent. Washington’s ways don’t work. My biennial budgeting bill would allow us the time to get into the weeds of the budget and help us to focus on saving money by cutting the worst first.”
By taking up the 12 appropriation bills over a two-year period, the bill would allow the more controversial spending bills to be taken up in a non-election year and the less controversial bills taken up in an election year. The defense appropriations bill would be taken up each year. According to Enzi, this would help Congress avoid passing the massive all-in-one trillion-dollar spending bills that have become the norm in recent years.
“We obviously don’t have time to look through all our spending in a year. This dysfunctional legislating is not the way the government should operate,” said Enzi. “We’ve got to start legislating and stop deal-making. Biennial budgeting will help us get there.”This week Enzi also cosponsored a Balanced Budget Amendment for our constitution, led by Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.