The Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations 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 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 early stage in the game, it’s unclear what the committee plans to discuss or if they’ll 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
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.
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
The Concord Coalition
Bipartisan Policy Center
News coverage/analysis/opinion (by date, with most recent first)
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.