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Congress Looking to Combine Spending Deal with Overhaul of Budget Process

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Congress Looking to Combine Spending Deal with Overhaul of Budget Process

April 22, 2019

ANCOR is sharing this article from Politico Pro because the Congressional budget process affects all areas of government, including funding for supports with people with intellectual / developmental disabilities. The budget process also consumes a lot of Congress’ attention because of multiple opportunities for it to be disrupted, such as when the government runs out of funding and needs to vote on raising the debt limit – reforms could make for a smoother process and thus more stable funding for federally-funded programs. According to information ANCOR has accrued from meetings in Washington, DC, the debt limit could stall Congress’ other work by the end of this fiscal year or early into FY 2020.

As written by Politico Pro:

“A sweeping deal to avoid a looming fiscal crisis in the coming months presents a new opportunity to fix what nearly every member of Congress agrees is busted — the federal budget process.

Senate Budget Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) will kick off a series of hearings next month on improving the budget process, according to his office, amid growing bipartisan appetite to rehabilitate how Congress crafts a funding plan. Lawmakers could include changes in a broader package later this year that would avoid billions in sequester cuts, another government shutdown or a devastating default on the nation's debt.

But deep partisan divisions and distrust abound. The fiscal stakes are especially high — threatening to sink or squeeze out negotiations instituting reforms that many lawmakers believe are uncontroversial, common sense and long overdue.

[…]

Some of the less controversial changes considered by that panel include requiring Congress to pass a budget every two years, instead of annually, and removing the executive branch from the congressional budget timeline so Congress can begin working on the budget before the president's request.

House and Senate budget leaders are now looking to revive those ideas, among others.

[…]

Congress once again blew past a deadline Monday to pass a budget resolution. Objections from progressives and moderates sunk Yarmuth's opening offer to raise the budget caps. Billions of disaster relief funds have been held up since December amid bitter fighting over aid to Puerto Rico. And the Trump administration is now demanding fiscal austerity — in addition to billions for border wall funding — after years of ambivalence toward the federal debt.”