09 February 2010

Why Doesn't Congress Have A Biennial Budget?

Instead of spending every year squabbling over the budget, missing deadlines, and mugging for the cameras, why doesn't Congress pass a two-year budget, and spend the next year doing something else? Or stay home?

Texas has a biennial budget, with a legislature that meets every other year, and that seems to work out OK.

It has been noted that in 1940, 44 states used a two-year budget cycle, and that only a handful do so today. I'm not sure that is progress. Bloated, full-time legislatures filling their days with decisions that could be done more efficiently. And that includes Congress. Do what you have to do, and go home.

The term of a Representative is two years (in theory). Have them vote on a budget once, spend the next year on oversight, policy planning and legislation, then you're up for re-election.

A biennial budget process would allow for greater long range planning, which we are sorely lacking. Most of the resources I found online are from 1988-2000. It seems like there was a lot of interest once, and then it fell off while Bush was president. Part of the ossification of our politics, apparently. It still seems like a good idea.

People think the political process is broken. Spending money is one of the most imporant functions of Congress.

Isn't it time to start trying a few things differently?

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