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U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, today began a new series of hearings focused on finding bipartisan solutions to fix America’s broken budget and spending process. The first hearing included two former Senate Budget Committee chairmen, U.S. Senators Judd Gregg, R-N.H., and Kent Conrad, D-N.D., to share their perspectives.

“Every day, American families and small businesses make tough decisions regarding how to balance their budgets,” Enzi said. “They work hard, manage their money responsibly, and if they fail to live within their means, they face real-world consequences. They hope that Congress is as conscientious with the taxpayer dollars they send to Washington, but as we all know, too often that’s not the case.”

Enzi noted that since the federal budget framework was established in 1974, there have been only four years in which Congress passed all of the annual appropriations bills on-time. The last time this happened was 1997, more than 20 years ago. In the 40 plus years that Congress has been operating under the current budget framework, the federal government has had 20 funding gaps of varying durations. 

“Clearly, we have a problem. Congress can’t keep avoiding its basic duties or ignoring the real impacts on our country. Among the first steps toward action must be framing the scope of the problem and highlighting where we agree,” Enzi said. “It’s time to begin to focus on meaningful ideas to address these problems in order to put us on a bipartisan path toward real and lasting solutions.”