tv U.S. Senate Mike Enzi on Govt Shutdown CSPAN December 18, 2018 1:02am-1:16am EST
the recent higher education bill and legislation dealing with opioids which he was so passionate for him to talk about every day for about a month and he gets things done because of his passion, his intelligence as a legislator and his persisten persistence. we worked together so many times in my years here. even though he is not here at the moment i salute my friend from tennessee. i look forward to seeing him in the gym tomorrow morning where i can convey the sentiments personally. i yield the floor. >> to allow more time to resolve the partisan impasse that has us
on the brink of a government shutdown once again. continuing resolution just allows agencies to continue to spend money without knowing how much they actually get to spend. they've been spending money since last october without knowing how much money they get to spend. so i come to the floor today to talk about the need to reform your broken budget and appropriations process and lay out a few ideas i have for how to do that. as the chairman of the budget committee i worked on budget appropriations process reform for several years and have always believed changes need to be guided by the two corere principles. first principle, reform should end of the brinksmanship an thee threat of government shutdown.
second, reform should guide us to create enforceable plans to stop the outrageous growth of our federal debt which is approaching $22 trillion. according to the congressional budget office, federal debt held by the public and the percentage of the economy is at the highest level since shortly after world war ii and that is expected to rise sharply over the next 30 years if current laws generally remain unchanged. quite simply, our budget problems are too severe to put off any longer and get our dysfunctional budget appropriations process is making it harder for congress to tackle our pressing fiscal challenges. to start one easy thing we could do to improve the process woulds be to change the names of the budget and appropriations committee to better reflect each committees function. the budget committee which is tasked with crafting an annual fiscal framework to guide the
progress really should be called the debt control committee. the appropriations committee which is responsible for making the actual decisions about how money is spent each year should be renamed the budget and appropriations committee. too often when we come up against appropriations deadlines as we are now, press reports that declared congress has to pass the budget to avoid a shutdown that is true of the budget has been passed a long time ago in reality the budget reflects the start of the process and appropriations reflects the end. changing these committees names with more clearly delineate the actual responsibilities and thereby make it easy for them to be carried out and understood by the public. a second important change would be to finally admit that congress is not capable of sending 12 appropriations bills president before the september 30 end of the fiscal
year each year. the current process leaves congress in a nearly perpetual quest to develop the past funding bills for the next federal year to avoid offending laughs and yet the sheer size and complexity of the federal budget appropriations process virtually guarantees congress lwill not consider all the the appropriations bills individually each year. in the last 40 years we have exceeded only four times in passing all the appropriations bills on time. let me repeat that in the last 40 years, we have secured only four times in passing all of the appropriations bills on time. our inability to test the appropriations bills on the current schedule has made reliance on continuing resolution they routine part of the process and it comes with a cost. the department of defense has operated under a continuing
resolution for an average of 81 days per year. that's almost three months per year since 2001 with a 2001 wasa particularly bad space since 2009 in which we've averaged 134 days per year. that's almost four and a half months of not knowing how much they are going to get to spend it alone planning for the future. earlier this year the secretary of the navy richard spencer identified $4 billion in waste wings of a lack of financial stability resulting from these continuing resolutions, the lack of knowing how much to spend. he said, quote, since 2001 we've put $4 million in th the trashc, poured lighter fluid on top of it and burned it. it's enough money that it can buy the additional capacity and capability that we need and instead of the $4 billion of taxpayer money has been lost
because of inefficiencies caused by continuingby resolutions. why of its true that this year we were able to pass and assign assigned the five appropriation bills prior to september 30, remarkably an improvement from recent that still leaves seven bills yet to be enacted. to address this problem i propose moving to the system having the number of appropriation bills considered each year so that sex would be considered in the first session of congress and six would be considered in the second each of them close for two years to allow for more planning by providing a more realistic and attainable schedule we could allow for a more thoughtful process for considering individual bills and we would free up more time for oversight and federal spending. we would actually get to look up some of the details of the dollars we are spending into the
large year-end spending bills with everything attached to it that are inefficient and too often loadedad with waste. we could also get agencies to certainty they need to plan and make wise decisions regarding how to implement funding. both successful and timely enactment of the appropriation bills is only part of the solution. we also need to look at the mandatory side of the ledger and programs that don't have adequate revenue to maintain the obligations. one's we don't get to make a decision on and with the mandatory programs should be self financing or offset by the elimination of existing programs that we would continue to fund. in other words, nothing should be mandatory if it doesn't have a stream of money big enough to pay for it. we also need to look at ending the spending bias that begins with the current baseline,
current amount of spending and automatically adjusts for inflation. s, address the long-term structural deficit problems, we need to create enforceable spending targets that are monitored and enforced annually to make sure lawmakers stay focused on the deficit reduction and achieving a suitable federal budget. the newly revamped controlled committee should be empowered to establish its targets and enforce spending constraints, for example, if we follow the plan to cut spending 1 cents out of every dollar each year, 1 cents out of every dollar for the next five years we could balance the budget. one's enforceable targets are agreed upon, we should conform onthe debt limit to them. i know dealing with the debt limit in a responsible manner is a priority for many of my
colleagues on both sides of the aisle and i'm ready to work on it with them. we are not talking about the sequester. i'm suggesting precision cuts on the low priorities. what happened with sequester his first of all that happened late in the year so there wasn't much money left to take the money out of which made it a much larger reduction from those spending bills. but they also pick the projects thatht they thought would be mot noticeable and cut those realizing they would raise up in arms and make sure that it's reinstated and that happened. it always picked the most visible and most painful. what we have to do is get to the precision cuts in the things we haven't even looked at and i have a list of how many things we haven'td looked at some
haven'haven't even looked at sie 1983 but they continue to get an annual inflation increase anyway so that's greater than the annual increase. each of the suggestions would improve the process and help us control spending and meet our constitutional obligations. i plan to pursue them in the next congress and look forward to working with my colleagues on these and other ideas. however while the reforms were needed, the reality is there will never be a perfect process and no reform by itself could inform t the hard decisions that are needed, but we need the leadership and commitment from both sides to work together to do what we know needs to be done to confront these challenges. mr. president, i look forward to working with my colleagues on these critical challenges in the next congress and i yield the floor.
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