The Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform was established by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-123) to make recommendations and develop legislative language that will “significantly reform the budget and appropriations process.” The committee is made up 16 members (eight Senators and eight House members) chosen by the four Senate and House party leaders:
- Representative Steve Womack (Chair)
- Representative Pete Sessions
- Representative Rob Woodall
- Representative Jodey Arrington
- Representative Nita Lowey (Co-chair)
- Representative John Yarmuth
- Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard
- Representative Derek Kilmer
The law directs the committee to issue a final report no later than November 30, 2018; the committee held its first (closed) hearing on March 8, 2018. While the committee did not make any decisions during the meeting, members reportedly discussed moving the budget and appropriations process to a calendar year cycle. Committee chair Steve Womack favors a January 1 - December 31 cycle as a way to avoid CRs. Other reform proposals on the table include strengthening the Budget Committees, allowing more floor time for appropriations bills, and restructuring the Senate amendment process on the budget resolution.
The select committee’s first public hearing, Opportunities to Significantly Improve the Federal Budget Process, was held on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. Witnesseses included Dr. Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Martha Coven, J.D.
The committee held its second (closed) hearing on April 11, 2018. CRS experts provided members with a briefing on the history of the budget process.
On May 9, 2018, the committee held a hearing to discuss bipartisanship in the budgeting process.
The committee's third public hearing (May 24, 2018) looks at the "current purpose and place of the budget resolution.
The committee considered member ideas for reform at its fourth public hearing on June 27, 2018.
The committee conducted its fifth public hearing, Opportunities to Improve the Appropriations Process, on July 12. During this hearing, members considered the current challenges facing the appropriations process in Congress and discussed possibilities for improvement. Witnesses included the Honorable Leon Panetta and the Honorable David Obey.
The committee is required to hold no fewer than “five public meetings or public hearings” and a minimum of “three public hearings, which may include field hearings.”
At this stage in the game, it’s unclear whether the committee will be able to formulate recommendations that will attract bipartisan support in both chambers. As the committee’s hearing schedule and agenda begin to take shape, LegBranch’s team of congressional experts and blog contributors will provide ongoing coverage and analysis. Check in frequently, as this page will be updated regularly with information, analysis, and reports on the committee’s activities.
Background and Explanatory Information on the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform
- Joint Select Committee official website. This website contains information on committee hearings, links to witness testimony, video links of hearings, and press releases.
- Congressional Research Service report on the structure, powers, and funding of the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform, including an overview of the parliamentary procedures the chambers may use to consider its recommendations.
- Updates on the Joint Select Committee's operating status at Congress.gov
Party leadership and committee statements on the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s statement here.
- Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer’s statement here.
- House Speaker Paul Ryan’s statement here.
- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s statement here.
- House Budget Committee statement here.
Statements/analysis by outside organizations
- Bipartisan Budget Reform Committee: Congress’ Best Hope to Fix the Budget Process.
- Congressional Reform Concepts For Consideration By A Joint Committee on the Congress of Tomorrow: Budget Process
Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
- Options for Budget Process Reform
- CRFB Statement on Joint Select Committee Members
- Budget Summit to Spur Action on Reform
- Better Budget Process Summit (with links to event materials)
- Event Recap: Better Budget Process Summit
Convergence Center for Policy Resolution
- Timely Convergence Building a Better Budget Process Proposals Proposals Create Stir on Capitol Hill (with links to media coverage)
- Building a Better Budget Process Project Summary Page (with links to stakeholder list, proposal summaries, CSPAN coverage, and more)
- Final Report: Building a Better Budget Process
Congress of Tomorrow Project
- Congressional Reforms for Consideration by a Joint Committee
- Proposal for Improving the Congressional Budget Process
- Fixing Fiscal Myopia
The Concord Coalition
Bipartisan Policy Center
News coverage/analysis/opinion (by date, with most recent first)
Jennifer Shutt, “Joint Budget Committee Will Meet on the Side to Work It Out,” Roll Call. July 16, 2018.
Frank E. Lockwood, "Partisanship draining public trust, ex-officials warn lawmakers," Arkansas Online. July 13, 2018.
Committee Press Release, "Joint Select Committee Holds Public Hearing on Appropriations Process," July 12, 2018.
Sarah Ferris, "'Organized chaos is too generous': Lawmakers clash over fix to budget dysfunction," Politico. June 27, 2018.
Niv Elis, "Senate chairman urges move to two-year budgetary process," The Hill. June 26, 2018.
J. Randy Forbes and Albert Wynn, "If you find yourself in a ditch ... fix the budget," The Hill. June 6, 2018.
David Sherfinski, "Budget writers blame lawmaker apathy for delays," Washington Times. May 28, 2018.
Committee Press Release, "Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform Holds Third Public Hearing," May 24, 2018.
Susan Ferrechio, "Two-year budget cycle gains traction," Washington Examiner. May 15, 2018.
James C. Capretta, "Three Ideas for Budget Process Reform," Real Clear Policy. May 11, 2018.
Sam Berger and Pete Sepp, "Fixing the budget process, one step at a time," The Hill. May 11, 2018.
Frank E. Lockwood, "Panel wants to motivate Congress," Arkansas Online. May 10, 2018.
Jean Parvin Bordewich, "U.S. budget reform: The nudge Congress needs," Hewlett. May 8, 2018.
Susan Ferrechio, "The task of fixing Congress's broken spending process starts next week," Washington Examiner. May 2, 2018.
"Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform Launches Official Website," Joint Select Committee. April 30, 2018.
Judd Gregg, "Fixing the unfixable -- the federal budget," The Hill. April 30, 2018.
Stan Collender, "Congress Is About To Make The Budget Debate Even Worse," Forbes. April 29, 2018.
Stan Collender, "The Federal Budget Process Is Dead and Desperately Needs To Be Buried," Forbes. April 24, 2018.
Jack Rametta, "Budget Process Reform Committee Hearing #1 (April 17, 2018): Top 10 Takeaways," BPC Action. April 24, 2018.
Jonathan Bydlak, "Terminating Budget Committee not as absurd as it sounds," The Hill. April 24, 2018.
Larry Hart, "Abolishing Budget Committee hits a symptom, not the disease," The Hill. April 20, 2018.
Marc Goldwein and Zach Moller, "How Congress Cheats with Our Money--And How We Can Stop It," Fiscal Times. April 20, 2018.
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, "Federal Budget Process Reforms: Testimony to the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform," American Action Forum. April 19, 2018.
Frank E. Lockwood, "U.S. budget process called a flop," Arkansas Online. April 18, 2018.
Paul Winfree, "Joint Select Committee Should Focus on Improving Budget Transparency," The Daily Signal. April 17, 2018.
Eric Sherman, "Republican Senate Budget Chairman: Let's Give Up on Budgets," Forbes. April 17, 2018.
Alexander Bolton, "Budget chairman floats plan to eliminate his own committee," The Hill. April 17, 2018.
House Budget Committee, "Joint Select Committee on Budget Process Reform Holds Second Meeting," April 11, 2018.
John Lovett, "Budget process reform on U.S. Rep. Steve Womack's radar as chair of select committee," Press Argus-Courier. April 7, 2018.
James Lankford and Tom Coburn, "21 Trillion Reasons to Fix the Budget Process," National Review. March 30, 2018.
Carl Hulse, "Broad Spending Bills Here to Stay as Long as Congressional Dysfunction Reigns," New York Times. March 30, 2018.
James Wallner, "Congressional Budgeting is a Matter of Will, Not Procedure," Law and Liberty. March 29, 2018.
Congressional Institute, "New Joint Committee Can Make Meaningful Reforms to Congressional Budget Process," Congressional Institute. March 27, 2018.
Susan Ferrechio, "Trump's veto threat puts pressure on Congress to fix spending mess," Washington Examiner. March 24, 2018.
Mark Strand, "Joint committee can make meaningful reforms to the broken budget process," The Hill. March 23, 2018.
James C. Capretta, "The Structural Roots of Budget Dysfunction," Real Clear Politics. March 21, 2018.
Stan Collender, "The budget process works just as Congress wants it, shutdown threats and all," Washington Post. March 21, 2018.
Dylan Matthews, “A simple way to prevent government shutdowns,” Vox. March 21, 2018
Molly E. Reynolds, "The politics and tradeoffs of congressional budget process reform," Brookings. March 19, 2018.
Sandy Davis and Shai Akabas, "Opinion: Congress, the CBO Is Not Your Football," Roll Call. March 19, 2018.
Stuart M. Butler and Timothy Higashi, "Three reasons to be optimistic about budget process reform," Brookings. March 15, 2018.
Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), "Making Congress work again," Alabama Today. March 12, 2018.
Joel Gehrke, "David Perdue: Congress may never pass a budget again," Washington Examiner. March 7, 2018.
Neil Bradley and Emily Holubowich, "The budget is broken. But not beyond repair," Roll Call. March 7, 2018.
Jennifer Shutt, “With Expectations Low, Select Budget Committee Prepares to Meet,” Roll Call. March 5, 2018.
G. William Hoagland, “Opinion: Pick Up Your Forks. It’s Time for Another Dinner Table Bargain,” Roll Call. March 5, 2018.
Emel Akan, "Washington's Budget Process Needs Permanent Fix," The Epoch Times. March 5, 2018.
Pete Kasperowicz, “David Perdue: Time to punish lawmakers if they can’t do their jobs,” Washington Examiner. March 1, 2018.
Alexander Bolton, “McConnell, Schumer tap colleagues to explore budget reform,” The Hill. February 27, 2018.
Jory Heckman, “With another shutdown deadline on horizon, senators seek budget process reform,” Federal News Radio. February 26, 2018.
Charles S. Clark, “Budget Reformers Seek Fresh Program Reviews, Among Other Things,” Government Executive. February 26, 2018.
Don Wolfensberger, “Super budget committee is not so super,” The Hill. February 16, 2018.
Susan Ferrechio, “Can the ‘Supercommittee II’ fix Congress’ dysfunction?” Washington Examiner. February 12, 2018.
Joshua C. Huder, “The budget process is obviously broken. Or is it?” LegBranch.com. February 9, 2018.