Berkland in The Daily Caller: A Small But Simple Step Towards Fiscal Restraint
Many conservatives are outraged that the U.S. Senate hasn’t passed a budget resolution since early 2009. Yet in a way, even this eye-popping fact understates how badly federal budgeting efforts have broken down in recent years.
Passing a budget resolution in the spring is only the first step in a year-long process Congress is supposed to use to set discretionary spending levels. Once this budget blueprint is in place, each chamber must debate and pass 12 separate appropriations bills that actually dole out the line-by-line funding for federal agencies. The process was designed to be slow and deliberate, to allow the American people to see exactly how members of Congress were spending their tax dollars.
In practice, however, the process is quite messy. Partisan differences and both inter-chamber and inter-branch fights often get in the way. So here’s another surprising statistic: The last time both chambers completed the whole federal budget process on time was almost 20 years ago!