January 27,1999

Roth Urges Establishment of Two-Year Budget Cycle

WASHINGTON -- Senator William V. Roth, Jr. (R-DE) today released the following statement in support of Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici's proposal to establish a biennial budget process. The proposal was the topic of a joint hearing today before the Senate Governmental Affairs and Senate Budget Committees. Roth is a member of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.

"I am pleased that the Senate Governmental Affairs and Budget Committees have joined today to review the concept of biennial budgeting. Senator Domenici has again introduced legislation to establish a biennial budget process. I, and many members of both of these committees, have joined in cosponsoring this important and necessary proposal. I first introduced legislation very similar to this bill in 1981. Since that time the need to change the Congressional budget process to a two-year approach has only increased.

"The current system reinforces the effectiveness of gridlock as a legislative strategy. Legislative stalemates like the one we encountered last year allow purely political dynamics to drive debate on appropriations and further dilute the role of oversight in Congressional budgeting. Clearly, this is not in the best interests of the American people.

"Chairman Domenici's proposal is designed to correct the flaws in the current system by putting the budget on a 2-year basis. The first session of each Congress would be devoted to the budget resolution and appropriations, culminating in a 2-year budget. The second session would be devoted to oversight and authorizations for the next 2-year period.

"I believe reforms along these lines would be a clear improvement over the status quo. It is my belief that too much money is being spent without the proper review and understanding required of such a tremendous budget. A 2-year budget process will reassert the importance of oversight in Congressional budgeting and help restore the public's confidence in our decisions.

"Senator Dominici has also introduced legislation to improve and strengthen the budget process through other reforms beyond biannual budgeting. I have long opposed the current budget constraints which do not allow spending cuts to offset tax cuts. A reconsideration of these budget rules is, in my view, long overdue."