tv Hearing on Improving Budget Appropriations Process CSPAN November 25, 2019 4:42pm-6:22pm EST
crisis without coming off as partisan? >> and in 2020, i would like the candidates to focus more on the black agenda. i feel like it was inadequately discussed during the democratic primaries. the fact there is still a black agenda after all these years proves there is something wrong, there's not enough being done. in all honesty, thus this is one part of race reparations that needs to take place. >> i was wondering what are the campaigns doing to attack the issues of global warming. every day we're seeing drastic changes in the weather and also in the forest fires and drastic changes to the climate. what is being done during your campaign to address the issues? >> voices from the campaign trail, part of c-span's battleground states tour. up next, a panel looks at improving the budget and appropriations process in congress.
this house committee on the modernization of congress heard from congresswoman nita lowey chairs the committee. this hearing was announced before congresswoman low we announced he would retire from congress following this term. >> committee will come to order. without objection, the chair is authorized to declare a recess of the committee at any time. this hearing is titled recommendations for approving the budget and appropriations process, a look at the work of the select committee on process reform and i recognize myself for five minutes to give an opening statement. the 104th congress which convened in 1945 was the last to pass appropriations bills. that was almost 25 years ago. most house members serving today have never seen a process that works the way it was supposed to where stand alone bills were
passed on time. and established by the bipartisan budget act of 2018. the committee was charged with making recommendations to significantly reform the process. it was acknowledgment that the process isn't working the way it should. no money shall be drawn from the treasury but in consequence of appropriations by law. this power of the purse is at the foundation of our constitution's separation of powers. it's a constitutionally mandated check on executive power. when congress fails to pass appropriations bills on time, it seeds power to the executive branch. congress has passed 117 resolutions since 1998. that's a lot of time spent dealing with funding decisions, but think of all the time congress would have to focus on other legislative duties if appropriations bills were passed
on time. making decisions about how to allocate funding for federal programs is tough work but it's congress' job. the american people deserve a fully functioning government. while the joint select committee did not pass a bill, it produced a lot of important work that provides helpful framework for thinking about reform today. members of the committee engaged in serious discussions about what it would take to fix the budget and appropriations process and many of the idea that is came out of those discussions are well worth considering. that's our intent today to talk about problems with the process and potentially areas of agreement where both parties in chambers could find common ground. while we're working on the -- while we're focusing on the work of the joint select committee we don't need to limit ourselves to the recommendations that that committee considered. i'm looking forward to hearing ideas from the witnesses today and i'm particularly grateful to appropriations chair ms lowey and mr. womack to tag teamed to
lead that committee. i appreciate your leadership. i invite our vice chair tom graves for opening remarks. >> thank you chairman. i thank you for joining us today and our witnesses that are going to be with us and taking time to speak with us today. as cochairs of the joint select committee, i know you worked really, really hard to fix our current funding process. and i hope today you know that this hearing is proof that your work living on. it was not for not. we are going to work with you and continue building on your work from last year. this select committee has that opportunity to be build on your foundation. i'm glad you're here to take a part, be a part of this today. i know we all want to solve this and hopefully today we can gather idea and advise how to tackle the complex issue. when it comes to the funding process in congress, i think we all know we can do better. the american people, our
constituents, they expect us to do better and we're charged with this responsibility of using taxpayer dollars wisely and effectively and i look forward to our success as we move forward. each party, each chamber, and each administration runs into the brick wall of the funding process each and every time it seems like over the last couple of years. as one of our witnesses today has illustrated to the joint select committee last year, his quote was it's been more than 20 years since all appropriation bills were passed prior to the start of the fiscal year and just 27% of senators have seen the process work. and for house members it's only been 16%. we have a lot of appropriators in the room today, myself and the chairman as well. and so i know this problem is personal to each of us. so, as well as to our two at the panel here on this area of appropriato appropriators as well. it's been tough for all of us to spend hours in mark ups and
negotiations and see our work get chewed up by the process. it's tough to see it discarded by continuing regulation and go through this year after year after year. we have different backgrounds, perspectives, and philosophies yet what we have in common with we're trapped in the broken funding process together. and i think today's hearing in a bipartisan spirit where we get to pick up on the efforts you left us with last year, hopefully we'll get a chance to fix this and get out of the broken cycle we're in. thank you mr. chairman. i look forward to hearing. >> thank you. today we welcome the testimony of five witnesses. on our first panel we have representative nita lowey and ept live steve womack. both worked on process reform and i have great respect and admiration for your leadership so thank you for that. despite this being a busy week, they have agreed to provide five minutes of testimony. once they finish, we'll give
them back their precious time and move on to the next panel. chair lowey, you're recognized for five minutes. >> chairman kilmer, vice chairman graves, members of the select committee, i am pleased to join you this morning to frankly speak with you in a room that is very familiar, familiar faces, and to be here alongside ranking member womack who served with me as the cochair on the budget of appropriations reform in the 115th congress. while concerns over a partisan process for senate consideration prevented that committee from reporting out recommendations, house democrats have used the first first nine months of our new majority to make important improvements to the budget and appropriations process. i'm very pleased to say that one
of the most important changes that i advocated for in the joint select committee raising unworkable budget caps was achieved on a bipartisan basis in july. because of in july. because of speaker pelosi's leadership, this bipartisan act allows us to invest for the people and increase funding for education, health care and human services. in addition the bipartisan budget act removed the ceiling and the uncertainty for families, businesses and communities across the country. however, as i recommended in the joint select committee process, i would prefer to go further and completely repeal the debt ceiling. it serves no useful purpose other than to provide opportunities and brinksmanship that threatens the nation's credit and the health of the economy.
in addition to the bipartisan budget act, we have also made important changes to the house rules. when our democratic majority took office in january, we adopted a meaningful pay as you go rule that shuts the door on reckless policies such as the gop tax scam. as chairwoman of the appropriations committee, i have restored the longstanding practice of adopting 302-b allocations before reporting appropriation bills and important step for transparency. to build on these successes and in charting a more effective and responsible course for the american people, there are two key legislative changes that i proposed making when i led the joint select committee that would help to improve the budget and the appropriations process. moving from annual to biennial
budget resolution, and to provide a mechanism to facilitate actions on appropriations even if the budget resolution is not adopted ideally allowing for a concurrent resolution dealing with 302-a allocations only. although, these are outside of the scope of this select committee, it is worth noting that i also favor two changes to senate rules that would bolster fiscal responsibility in both chambers. restoring the conrad rule, the senate rule that prevented reconciliation legislation from increasing the deficit, and the first ten years, and adding a new 60-vote point of order in the senate against
reconciliation instructions in a budget resolution that called for a net deficit increase. in addition, i support technical improvements to better handle cap adjustment items and change the bases for calculations of the emergency spending and expedite the administration's provision of a full year budgetary data to the cbo. however, even with these changes, the most important element to a successful budget and appropriations process is political will. i am proud that our democratic majority has shown that political will and taken our responsibilities seriously. that is why our chamber is far ahead of the senate in processing appropriation bills this year. finally, i'd like to discuss the elephant in the room, the congressionally directed spending.
this select committee on the modernization of congress was tasked with strengthening the institution, and nothing could strengthen the article one branch of government more than restoring congressionally directed spending. it is imperative that congress exercise its constitutional responsibility in determining how and where taxpayer dollars that we appropriate are spent. the end of congressionally directed spending has led to diminished comity in the house, and transferred our authority to the executive branch and return to earmarking under a strong set of rules to ensure transparency and prevent abuse would be of immeasurable benefit to the house and to the american people. i hope that we can do so in the months ahead. thank you for inviting me to
testify and best of luck with the select committee. >> thank you, madam chair, and thank you for your leadership. chairman womack, you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman and members of the select committee. i appreciate the opportunity to testify before you today. i would like to share some perspectives of the committee of the budget and appropriations process reform task force that i was proud to chair. i look forward to a productive discussion. many members of the house have voiced frustrations about the broken budget process. our current process was written in the 1970s. it has been updated with minor revisions on a few occasions, and it does not align with the dynamics of the modern congress, however. last year the joint select
committee was tasked with producing legislation to reform the budget process with an equal number of republicans and democrats and a super majority voting threshold. that super majority was five republicans and five democrats and 10 of the 16 members but a requirement of five members from each party and this structure guaranteed a consensus-driven product. we ultimately produced a bipartisan and bicameral process, and some were moving to biennial budget, and maintaining appropriations, and assuming realistic deadlines for the congress to complete the budgets and appropriations work, and requiring the budget hearing on the fiscal state of the nation. why did we fail? we obtained the bipartisan and bicameral support for a number of proposals, but the final vote did not reach the required super majority threshold. some members voted no, and some voted present. a number of those members indicated support for the underlying bill, but voted
present due to unrelated disagreement among the senate leadership. however, the final proposal was developed with the input from all of the members and the co-chair agreed to the text and it was marked up in the super majority vote, and some in the unanimous vote, and bipartisan ideas were found, and those proposals should be explored by future reformers. besides examining the budget and the appropriation process i was also pleasantly surprised that the republicans and the democrats in house and the senate came into the deliberations to talk about the debt. to be clear, our group did not try to identify policies to reduce the deficit by a certain amount, but what we did discuss extensively is the fact that congress does not use the existing procedures to reduce the debt. we could use regular order or reconciliation, but we simply don't. members expressed interest in the third route and perhaps one that is bipartisan and
bicameral with a debt to gdp as a target metric and leader shelden whitehouse was the first. and for this, i would encourage you if get some first downs rather than throw the hail mary. like we do so often. the joint select work product represents a bicameral and bipartisan step forward for incremental reform. second, we should continue to focus on the budget process and not budget outcomes. outcomes are specific levels of funding or proposals to reduce the deficit by a certain amount, and process is how congress determines how much to spend or how to determine what policies to enact to reduce the deficit. i'd like to see us modernize the procedures which is going to hopefully set up congress for success in the future, regardless of who happens to have the majority at any given
time. my goal is to get something enacted into law that improves the process. i am willing to work with both republicans and democrats in the house and the senate to try to do so. finally, it is important to acknowledge the importance of the senate in this puzzle and for that, i recognize this chair's release of the reform ideas earlier in the summer. before i conclude, let me just anecdotally say this, there is no better poster child for the challenge confronting the congress of the united states of america than where we happen to be today on funding the government in the beginning of the fiscal year that is less than two weeks away. i challenge this committee and all willing participants in the congress to find solutions that
can put congress back on the track of doing arguably the most important work. i yield back. >> thank you. i wanted to just again express my gratitude to both of you. you are two of the most busiest people in the marble buildings and the fact that you were willing to give us your time and wisdom, i am grateful for. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> and with that, we will now move on to the second panel. our first witness is matthew owens, and mr. owens is the executive vice president, and the vice president for federal relations at the american association of universities. he provides strategic management, and also serves on the council at convergent, which is to build trusts and form alliances for action on critical national issues, and in this capacity he served on the building a better budget process to address the dysfunctional
federal budget process, and the project participants reached consensus on five proposals to improve the process that congress uses to manage the $4 trillion annual budget. william hoagland is a senior vice-president at the policy center and in this capacity he helps to provide policy and analysis. he has also had 25 years on the u.s. senate staff, and from 2003 to 2007 he served as the director of budget appropriations in the office of the senate majority leader bill frisk. and he has assisted in major legislation and coordinated the budget policy for the leadership in 1982 to 2003, mr. hoagland served as a staff member and director of the senate budget committee including reporting to u.s. senator pete diminici. and he also participated in federal budget meetings, including the graham/rudman
budget deficit reduction act and also the restore budget agreement. and finally, megan lynch is a director of the congressional budget process, and she joined crs in 2007 as the presidential management fellow and prior to coming to crs worked for local government in maryland and the maryland general assembly, and the witnesses are reminded that the oral testimony is limited to five minutes and your written statements will be made part of the record. mr. owens, you are recognized for five minutes to give a oral presentation of the testimony. >> thank you for the opportunity to testify before this important panel. i am encouraged that the work to modernize congress is including ways to fix the broken federal budget process. i have seen the consequences of the budget failures over the past two decades and student financial aid decisions are held up, and important medical research is delayed and
long-term planning is made more complex because the congress does not prepare a budget in a highly effective way and it wastes time and taxpayer resources to be used for the teaching and research and other missions of universities. i chose to participate in the convergent building a better process for budgeting. this is what people do everyday, they seek to solve difficult problems facing the nation. at the same time, my university does support the proposals that we will discuss. i understand that you have copies of my testimony, i will highlight the five consensus proposals that we developed. the first is called the budget action plan which synchronizes with the governing cycles to adopt on the congress to adopt a two-year budget to sign into law by the president. the budget action plan has three elements and one option. it sets the discretionary spending for two years and lifts
the debt limit by any shortfall by any debt agreed to in the legislation. and third, authorizes a look-back report to analyze the impact that the enactment of the budget would have on the long-term fiscal outlook. and additionally, it allows congress to have the option of considering one reconciliation bill per fiscal year. our second proposal requires the cbo to have a fiscal state of the nation report and issued in the presidential cycle and outlining the key financial projects and not limited to debts, deficits, and revenue spending and a breakdown of the revenues and the tax expenditures and any estimates short falls and long term spending programs. this report is widely distributed and providing the information in reader-friendly ways to allow non-insiders to read the budget. it would provide a full picture of the nation's finances, and help the voters to make more informed choices.
the third proposal is seeking to look at the long term effects of the budgets. we propose it every four years. it is a program that is long term or the intergenerational commitments review. it would include health care, national security. and also, we agree that the stature of the committee needs to be restored to prepare to lead the process. we propose that the chairs and the ranking members of the key fiscal and authorizing committees or the designees serve on the budget committees. it would help to ensure those who are responsible for carrying out the budget would be vested in the process to develop it. the last proposal calls on congress to give cbo and gao and other budget-support agencies the resources to provide credible and high quality and independent information. the proposal is new responsibilities for the agencies so that it is important that they have adequate resources.
now, these five proposals will not yield a perfect budget process, however, we believe they contain practical and achievable measures that can be developed further to implement a process that is facilitating and gives sound decision making information. we believe our proposals are a strong starting point. and we are looking at the limited of the budgeting to biennial and any other changes to the budget committee. also, i want to share a shared feeling of our group. no package of reforms by itself can remedy the prevailing dysfunction. process reforms alone cannot force congress to reach the budget deals. political will is needed. the process does matter and small or large changes can create ownership or buy-in for the new expectations and the norms for budgeting. right now, the expectations are low, and the norms are broken. and as noted earlier, it has been more than 20 years since the appropriations bills were passed prior to the start of the
fiscal year, and mr. graves to your point, i have updated, and my colleague taylor henry, he ran the numbers yesterday and just 15% of all current members of congress have seen the process work. we believe that our proposals can help to remedy this. on behalf of the convergence project participants, we wish you success. this panel's work is important to the nation's governance and we hope that you can help implement the budget process with congress. >> thank you for the testimony and the well wishes. and mr. hoagland, you are now recognized for five minutes. >> is that on? okay. apologize for that. the bipartisan policy center congratulates and applauds the committee for the recommendations that you have adopted to date. as you said, the current processes and rules and concepts and processes are so complex that members and the staffs find
them hard to understand and let alone the american taxpayer. over the last 12 years, congress failed to adopt eight times 2/3 of the time the budget resolution blueprint for the upcoming year, and most recently for the fiscal year that begins in 11 days. my testimony therefore focuses on one possible solution to getting your work done on a timely manner, and to the long ago but never agreed to biennial budget proposal, and something that you, mr. chairman, and mr. woodall are familiar with havinged on the joint select committee last year. at the outset, i must note, mr. chairman, representative mr. delvaney, newhouse and brooks and others who are the states of washington, and indiana and wisconsin joined 20 other states with functioning biennial budgets. as i look back over the current history of the budget act as early 1987, the bipartisan agreement between congress and
president reagan was reached to set two-year caps on the discretionary spending and followed with the same bipartisan agreements of 1987, and in 2011 it set the budget caps for ten years through 2021 but they were adjusted in two-year tranches by the process budget of 2013, 2015, 2018 and of course most recently 2019, and in other words, two years is the operative time period for congress to abide by any limits of discretionary spending. and this is beyond what this committee could find census around. and my own thinking is from supporting this split biennial budget process. is the resolution once adopted
would have established a budget for congress setting for the following two years. the house appropriations committee was charged with reporting annual appropriations bills at each session of the two year biennial. even if congress could adopt a budget by may 15th in the first session of congress it would still be difficult for the appropriation committee both house and senate to complete action on all 12 appropriation bills before beginning of the next fiscal year. i may be expressing my own ignorance. i'm not clear how one would generate two bills with one
biennial resolution. the benefits are real. long term planning horizon is developed, predictability, increased opportunity for oversight and authorization, greater flegs built to program managers to realign their resources and increase time for evaluation. a couple of final comments. if a budget resolution was not adopted may one the sticks were considered however no stick amendment were adopted. i must acknowledge you and mr. woodall did vote for the ernst amendment in the committee. further the select committee proposal did not include
promise promise of completing on time. one suggestion if the. inspect is senate rules can be adopted to at least eliminate the filibuster to consider appropriation bills. one of the recurring criticism of biennial budgeting has been the argument that making accurate projection two years in advance is difficult. nothing in the biennial budget precludes funding or supplemental appropriations if needed for unanticipated or unplanned emergency attentions. one off year supplemental is better than 12 appropriations bills each year. let me conclude with what has already been stated on so many ways. no process changes will make the decision easier. budget something governing. and governing is challenging. but i do believe you want to find consensus on reasonable consideration. >> thank you mr. hoagland.
ms. liverpool you're recognized for five years. >> chairman kilmer, vice chairman graves i'm megan lynch and i am a specialist -- -- i am a specialist on congress and the legislative process at the congressional research service. as requested my testimony this morning will touch briefly on two subjects, the work of the 2018 joint selection committee and congressional rules and practices related to earmarks. the joint select committee on budget and appropriations process reform was created in february of last year and was charged with developing legislation significantly legislation significantly reform the budget and appropriations process. as mentioned earlier, the committee's membership as well as recommendations were required to be bipartisan. after about nine months of debate appear consideration the committee's recommendations were included in a co-chairs mark and the committee held a markup during which additional recommendations were added as bipartisan amendments.
the co-chair's mark as amended include recommendation that is pertained almost solely to the budget resolution. on the budget resolution the recommendations proposed moving to a biennial budget resolution as opposed to the current annual budget resolution and -- congress's ability to use reconciliation annually. it included an optional path for a bipartisan budget resolution with special procedures in the senate. next it included a revised time table allowing for more time for the development of the budget resolution. and it made changes to the budget committees. so in the house for the house budget committee is proposed eliminating term limits for house budge committee members, a proposal incorporated earlier this year in-house rules and senate proposed expanding the senate budget committee to include chair and ranking members of the senate committee on appropriations and senate committee on finance. last, it would have required the house and senate budget committees to hold a joint hearing on the fiscal state of the nation. so while not included in the
final recommendations, the committee debated and considered many budget process reform proposals and that included a proposal to lift the earmark moratorium. earmarks are generally defined as any spending or tax operation provision that would benefit a specific entity or locality and included in legislation at the request of a member. while house rules use the term earmark this is sometimes referred to as congressionally directed spending. in the early 2000s earmarks received more scrutiny and addressed growing concern and in 2007 the house and senate adopted chamber rules with the stated intention of bringing transparency to the earmark process. the rules are still in place and essentially require three things. first requiring that earmark included in legislation and committee report language be disclosed. second they require that committees compile and maintain earmark requests. and last they require that any member requesting an earmark certify they have no financial interest in the earmark. in addition to the rules, the committee adopted practices that
among other things sought to limit the recipient of earmark and purpose of earmarks. ultimately in 2011 the house and senate began observing what has been referred to as earmark moratorium or earmark ban, the earmark moratorium is not in law for the house or senate rules instead enforced by committee and chamber leadership through the agenda setting powers. some members proposed a re-examination of the earmark moratorium. that concludes my remarks. thanks for inviting me. i'll look forward to answering any questions you might have. >> thanks very much. appreciate your testimony and amazed that you didn't look down. that was impressive.
i now recognize myself for the five minutes for questions. and i want to start with mr. hoagland. you know, i think so biennial budge thing seems like a process and comes up over and over here andary here we are with the annual process. why have previous attempts to implement by ennial budging failed why is it so hard. >> first of all with all due respect i was a senate staffer for many, many years in the senate wherebiennial budgeting started to be put forward. united states senators of course have six years as opposed to to your two years. it always was very early on that the difficulty here quite frankly was here in the house. where the difficulty of you having to be in office only for two years before running for re-election and appropriators -- i'm a budgeter -- was that appropriators wanted a bite at the apple every two years. every year. in terms of the recommendations of the joint select committee special select committee it reflects the fact that you want
to have an opportunity to appropriate every year i'd say in the senate. the difficulty is that they feel -- i think they feel that if you are doing this you do two years budgeting and two-year appropriation. it's the senate clash between the senate and the house. >> there are clearly a lot of problems with the budget appropriations process. we talked about a bunch today. does biennial budgeting get at alleviating the problems, particularly those political in nature? >> no. >> all right. is your sense though if we have a biennial process -- it seems in recent history when there is a caps agreement it speeds the ability, you know it sets a number for the appropriators to appropriate to. it seems the process gets bogged
down as we have seen this year when there is not agreement on what the -- what the top line number is. >> yes, that clearly -- i think getting the 302 early -- the reason in my testimony -- the reasoning i'm concerned is you are having -- you first of all have to adopt a biennial budget. and i -- i respect the fact gnat select committee moved this -- the adoption date to the first of may. from april the 15th or -- but even if you were able to get a concurrent conference agreement current resolutionp on the top line between house and senate by may 15th it gives the appropriators very short time together to get work done less than four months. just adopting and reporting as we have seen. when you get the 302s and break them down to the 30 it bs that's when you slow down the process dramatically. >> that's helpful. the -- the time question i have appoint to address to all of you and get your sense of this. i would say the concerns i'm going to raise are without
regard to who is in the white house and which party is in a majority or minority in congress. but i think it's clear we have seen a real erosion of congressional authority and power. you know, under the constitution the congress is given the power of the purse. the powers have eroded we have seen aggressive rescissions regardless of administration, the ability to suspend substantial amounts of money even on things to which congress hasn't appropriated which is in the news quite a bit lately, and decisions being made by unelected folks within the executive branch rather than decisions being made by elected legislators. so what has congress given up? i'd like to get your sense of one what has congress given up? two is it problem what congress has given up? is that a problem for the american people and what would you do about it? go ahead. >> i'm happy to start. again, thinking about the convergence discussion, i think, yes, it is a problem. and congress has given up some of its institutional authority in all of this.
for many of the reasons you just said in your question, at the end of the day we do have -- congress not frankly taking ownership of some of it oversight responsibilities and funding the government. and digging deeper. just in my limited career of little over 20 plus years i have seen that erosion time and after time where i used to be called in and talk with committee staff about what's going on in these programs for student financial aid. those conversations don't happen nearly as often as they used to by the appropriators or -- especially there isn't time because they are too busy fighting about what's going to be the next allocation, what the appropriation will be and that was a common sentiment among colleagues in the convergence better budget process dialogue. >> anybody else want to take a crack at that? >> mr. chairman, i would suggest that the congressional budget and panel control act of 1974 grew out of another crisis at
that time which was president nixon impounding money, the essence of the act was the power that was being taken away from congress by his ability to impound. i think the congressional budget impoundment control act brought power back to the legislative branch but as a it eroded over time as i say in the last 12 years you have 3/4s of the time you haven't done what the law says you should be doing which is adopting a budget. you have given up that process. and in -- in the sense of not following through with what you, powers you have following through with consideration, you have significantly shifted the decision making away from the legislative branch to the executive branch. and that i think is a real failure of our democratic process today. >> you don't want to opine. >> no. >> i'm over time. so i -- i may come back with some more questions in a second round. but let me now recognize vice chair graves for five questions.
>> thank you mr. chairman thank you to each of you for your thoughts and testimony today. just a couple of questions from me. so we had the co-chairs of the select committee on budget reform before us. our understanding is there was a recommendation package obviously they couldn't get the votes necessary to pass it out. is it safe to say that that pack annual of recommendations is a good foundation for this committee to work off of? is there any objections that you have seen or items that should be omitted from the package. >> i think it's a wonderful package to be working from. >> okay, great mr. owens. >> i share that sentiment. >> i have not heard criticisms of that package. >> okay. we haven't either. and it's -- only in this body can you have something that people agree on that we can't pass, you know. it's amazing. but it's great we have the
foundation to work off of. i didn't real really discussion about mandatory versus discretionary spending. can we talk about that for a second? is there a need for congress to vote on mandatory spending to gain the ownership and understanding of that responsibility? mr. hoagland. >> yes, congressman, i feel strongly that the problem with having established the caps over the last 10-year caps has only focused on the discretionary portion of the budget. by not having a budget resolution which broadly takes in not only mandatory but revenues, you have shifted the focus only to that which the appropriation committee has jurisdiction over. that's why i think it's important to get back to adopting a budget resolves, whether biennial budget resolution that sets the framework and therefore dress the issues related to mandatory spending and revenues to be
-- with you too. you're not doing that when you focus on staying within the caps. >> that's a good point. >> i just add again from the convergence project, we had that discussion. one of the principles we espoused for budget reform was the budget should be comprehensive. i would agree, i think on behalf of all of the participants that we envisioned this budget action plan as we called it making sure it did address the mandatory or addressing the revenues we're addressing the discretionary spending. >> and i agree. i have seen that the budget resolutions either party presented in the past generally have a visionary type document, not a governing document, more of a mission statement or visionary statement versus reality of what might occur or not occur. i would like to see it be more of reality that members are taking ownership of an understanding of the fiscal nature of we're dealing with as a country. and so i hope we would consider that as well as we look forward. and maybe as we think about committees -- wouldn't it be
nice -- it was nice to hear -- i guess seeing the testimony about the budget committee compilation, how it would comprise a recommends on that with new members. but what if it was truly bipartisan committee, equally divided amongst both parties and the only way to pass something out is it had to be bipartisan versus other. but i'm just opining on that. ms. liverpool, i'd love to have you have the opportunity to participate in the conversation today. you brought up something that a lot of people don't want to talk about and that's congressionally directed spending or the dreaded earmark word. help us understand, has there been any thought into what that reform might look like that would be responsible reform? i think we all know why the moratorium is in place, in that it was abused and a very negative perception by limited cases potentially that it was being abused. i don't think that abuse has been removed. it's just been shifted to another -- another area.
so how might this committee consider that reform with protections in place that begin the trust of the american people? >> thanks for that question. some people in thinking about lifting the earmark moratorium has proposed different reform that is might be made to earmark. some of those might be reinstituting practices or formalizing practices the house observed in the mid to late 2000s. some of knows were members were required to post the earmark on their personal website and say why it was a good use of taxpayer money. there was sort of -- there is proposals for having a one stop location like a database searchable and accessible to the public where they can see the earmark requests. there have been proposals to have gao do a periodic audit of earmarks. that's on the transparency side. also limiting the purpose of earmarks and the recipient of earmarks so no earmarks for private companies. no pass
through earmarks, no earmarks named after members of congress, sometimes sort of limiting the total spending level for earmarks. no more than 1% of discretionary spending or a limit on dollar amount for any earmark. >> previously before the moratorium directed spending can go to a private entity, not just a governmental entity? >> that's right. >> and i would imagine most -- i mean we're both appropriators and we've never been in that environment where it existed. i know mr. woodall -- mr. cleaver might be the only person in the congress that's been in congress prior to the moratorium. thank you. >> mr. pocan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me continue on that i was at a meeting one time as a freshman and sat down with a bunch of folks and we got talking about congressionally directed spending now i guess instead of earmarks and i raised the issue how people didn't like the idea
of the earmark for a bridge to to nowhere. the lobbyist in the room said i was the staff person who wrote that at the time. that was -- didn't go over well in that room. but other ideas for addressing this issue? because it does seem that we have -- since i've been here now fourth term, we have a remarkably hard time of doing what should be the most 101 of our job. and if you actually had some skin in the game rather than a bureaucrat in washington you know you're more likely to be supportive. any other changes people might recommend? >> when the convergence group discussed this let me note we met 14 times. this came up in the first meeting, the last meeting and several meetings in between. because many of the participants saw the appeal. you know it's sort of the grease to help move along legislation. i think ms. lynch did a great job of outlining a lot of the same things we heard in our discussion. while we didn't reach consensus on this -- and that was the
threshold for our report, what we found was there was a lot of interest that if earmarks were to come back they absolutely had to be transparent. limiting them to certain parts was a thought that a lot of people shared that way. there would be less opportunity for people to be abusive with those -- that were a lot of concerns in the past. that's just a flavor of the conversation where we came out. >> mr. pocan, i don't know if i have a recommendation. but i want to make an observation back to the chairman's comments about what has congress given up. it's always struck me -- and i did work for a budget committee chairman for many years but he was also an appropriator. always was bothered me when the explanatory notes came up to the apprehension committee to the executive branch, they are earmarking. they are earmarking. and you're excluded from doing that. i thought that was an unfair balance of responsibility. >> appreciate that. let me also ask the question
that ms. lowey brought up and another one i always had a question on the debt ceiling. it seems like when i explain it back home they say we have appropriated the money, bought the item, written the check, but we're not sure if we're dropping in the mailbox to pay it. which seems a little illogical can you dress the debt ceiling issue? >> i dealt with -- well my time up here i dealt with a number of these issues. graham/rudman/hollings grew out increasing statutory debt limit above $2 trillion in day of 22. i think there were recommendations that were particularly recently in the senate whereupon the adoption of a biennial budget you have 302-a's kick out at the same time kick out automatic increase in the statutory debt limit consistent with what's in that biennial budget. you're doling with it once and it's consistent with what you
have adopted overall in terms of the biennial budget. >> that was absolutely the consensus view of the convergence group. to use the analogy as soon as you write the check you make a commitment, call it a credit card or check or whatever. we make the commitment and shed light on that and know that you're borrowing or not. >> let me ask one outside the purview of the committee but something i often bring up and i used to be on the committee i'm not trying to trash the budget committee. but i don't know if i really understood the purpose of the budget committee and i was on it two sessions in the current era. is there a way to streamline the process you wouldn't have to have a budget committee? or are you all saying we need to have a budget committee? >> well our group was very tempted to recommend eliminating the budget committees for some of the reasons i think you articulate. but after we got deeper into discussions we thought it was
more important for them to be strengthened and restructured in ways that creates the buy in and leadership. so you had the chairs and ranking members, all of the committees that are authorizer or had fiscal responsibility. we could do what we talked about. make the budget comprehensive, make input and ownership. allow it to lead. without the budget committee, whose job is it. >> mr. pocan i was a staff director of the senate budget committee for many, many years. obviously i'm biased. and it worked early years. and largely because of what's been said. the makeup of that committee early on was to have the chairman of the appropriation committee, the ranking the amount chairman of the finance committee ranking member, those major committees of jurisdiction -- i would modify that in years in which major authorizations are coming up such as agriculture bill.
have the chairman in that. you would make the committee a fiscal committee that would give guidance and have buy in back to the committees of jurisdiction. i can only speak for the senate. i will not -- i'll be fair and stay away from commenting on the house budget committee. but in the senate, that -- that for political purposes that was changed over time making it less effective long-term. i would go back to restructuring the committee back to having fiscal people involved in the design. and i think it's -- you still need a big blueprint. you need to have not just discretionary. you need to to have the mandatory spending and revenues as a total picture. you can't do it without the total picture. >> i would just add that for most of congress's history there weren't house and senate budget committees. the purpose of the committees was that other statute committees that -- over programs but there wasn't a asks committee with jurisdiction over the budget as a whole and the
committees were created to be enforcers of the budget resolution and budget rules. >> thank you very much. i went over time. appreciate it. >> thank you. next up, mr. woodall. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm thinking about the time lines. it seems like we got a two year budget deal in february of 2018 which gave us full seven months before the end of the fiscal year. and we were the most successful congress in the last 17 years and only got 5 out of 12 done. and yes when we were on the -- on the joint select committee we tried to move those time lines around. tell me why particularly from the convergence recommendation we're going to do this right out of the gate. i have all the freshman just elected making all sorts of promises. the first vote in congress is to do a two-year deal on issues that they don't yet understand, automatically raise the debt limit they promised not to do and on and on and on. why is it the first year of the two-year congress that we're all focused on passing budgets
resolutions whether they be one year or two year resolution f2 we're doing a two-year resolution why is that the second year of the congress when folks have their feet wet and can get us through what were sometimes sticky election years, where politicking come in more than normal? mr. owens? >> thanks for that question. we in fact did wrestle with that question. a couple thoughts come to mind from our discussion. one is we thought about binding the next congress. and that gave some people some hesitations. but as we thought about it our -- all of our proposals, the five consensus proposals are meant to complement each other. this is where the proposal for the fiscal state of the nation is really important. our theory was if we have a better informed budget process, and that fiscal state of the nation report is coming out during the presidential election cycles, not only are presidential candidates paying attention to it, members of
congress who are re-running, candidates all have this same informing. they'll already be thinking about the budget. couple that with a restructured budge committee where you have leadership from fair various committees all in that committee all informed that they could start -- at the start of a new congress hit the ground running. when the fiscal nation report wasn't coming out because that would be every four years you have the long-term gao reviews looking at portfolios. so there is a constant flow of information at the right time of the decision making. we thought that would help move things along at the beginning of the new congress. >> well, i support a stronger budget committee. that's what we had in '74. as it turns out what's the devote quote i'm going to use budgeting is governing and governing is challenging. we had -- in fact reconciliation was coming around every september to say if you didn't get it right the first six months we're bringing in the hammer to get it right. of course we're already binding
future congress' because i'm supposed to finish my work by september 30th, binding the future congress all the way through to the next september 30th if they don't change it. mr. hoagland, what -- you weren't the staff director on the budget committee during the eight years where no budgets were passed on the senate side. i've often wondered what -- in the place where institutional knowledge and i would argue passion resides, the budget process has failed more regularly than on the house side. as we think about strengthening the process, if i can't strengthen it with the folks with six year terms and long institutional memories, how in the world is that plan going to stick long-term? >> i don't know if i have a good answer to you. the senate is evolved too, changed dramatically. i will say the first time i was involved with not getting a budget resolution conference agreement was after a major
shutdown in 1995, 1996, the first major ones. and we had crisis back then and finally came back together and finally adopted a balanced budget agreement in 1997. with all due respect to my friend the former chairman of house budget president mr. kasich he was running for president and had no desire to put forth a budget resolution that year. and that's why it was the first time we were all-in-one unable -- all comes back to politics at that point, unfortunately. i don't know that we can change the -- the system here the way that would assure it. but it was working back in those days with leadership. and i think leadership both in the committees both appropriations and budgets and major funding ways means and finance and that's what you need here. you need buy in from the leadership to get this thing to work. >> ms. lynch, thinking about efforts to try to achieve some of those goals, it seems a little odd to me that we talk about strengthening the budget committee in the same way -- the
same breath we talk about having the budget committee meet less often and do less work. but if it's serious work it has a lasting effect. as we think about reforms the congress look at historically. do you see that regularly we are going to -- we're going to strengthen and do less as opposed to we are going to try to do more? >> some proposals i have seen that speak to the contradiction are the ideas that maybe you want to have a budget committee that just has a -- maybe altered membership. many have proposed having sort of it be a leadership committee to you have the buy in on the committee, the budget committee is not doing the work and doing the resolution and don't have the support of the chamber. >> as a nine-year member i will remind my colleagues we have members from the ways and means and appropriations committee. and from the rules committee.
we did evolved to having the enthusiastic freshmen from the committees to serve. i yield back. >> thanks very much. mr. cleaver. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being here. ms. lynch mentioned some of the things that we should think about and that i also think she said -- and i -- i was here so i remember -- almost everything you said was the practice when earmarks was discontinued. you have to put it on the website, you have to sign an affidavit saying that this is not going to your cousin bill. it couldn't go to a corporation all those things we had in place. so the missouri delegation had lunch each month. every one of us -- all eight of us rather said we are going to say out publicly that we support earmarks or whatever you want to call it.
but here -- here is where things bump heads. the confluence between politics and constitution. and it's this -- what happens is -- well, first of all in the media. the media said senator stevens is trying to build a bridge to nowhere. it was not true. he was trying to build a bridge to a small island. that only had i think about 55 people on it, something like that. most people think that you know there was no destination for the bridge, just building a bridge. it was not true. so the argument could have been are we spending too much money for that size population? it's a legitimate argument. unless your grandma lived on the island and couldn't get on the ferry in the winter and make it to the mainland to go to the hospital, which was the issue. and so public doesn't know anything.
they actually goh to any town and said bridge to nowhere they think it was a bridge to no where. there's an indiana pronunciation i can't pronounce the name of the island. the press jumped in and we started doing it for political reasons. the thing is i don't know if -- i don't know if we're going to be able to -- you know, the -- i think right now the constitution is experiencing a stress test. and it didn't start with the current president. it started with you know long before. we haven't declared war since 1945. and we have had 118,000 americans killed in war since then. and congress just sits on its hands and we let it take place. and then what happens is the partisanship gets in the way. when president obama stood up at
his third or fourth state of the union and said i will sign no bills that have earmarks in them and i publicly criticized him and said, you know, you don't have that power. and then some democrats said you can't do that. this is the president. well he was wrong. we know he was wrong. we can't criticize. what has happened is the party that's in power in the white house they'll go along with the extraction of -- of the constitutionally awarded power of the house. we give it away because nobody wants to criticize the president if he or she is one of them. and that's how it has eroded. president obama said i'm not signing any bills. we should have stood up, everybody that -- and said no this is wrong you can't do it. but we didn't do it.
and so now we assume we are not supposed to do it. and so you got politics. you got the press. and you got you know this political stuff that says, we don't criticize someone in our own party. so can we actually deal with this issue you know in terms of some kind of legislation? i don't think so. i think it's an issue of the heart and the mind and the -- that we have to deal with on whether or not it's right and wrong. and right now we're in this position because every president for probably the last 55 years has taken just a little and a little and a little and a little. and we're going to rue the day when -- when we wake up one morning and find out we only
have two branches of government. we're barely three right now. i didn't intend to go off. but you know, i'm furious about this stuff because we -- we are giving it away. and we're watching it. we're watching it in realtime. and you know we have a bridge in kansas city. i was mayor, i was pushing name it kit bond. i talked to him last friday. senator bond never asked anybody to do that. i mean, and so because we needed it desperately i thought i'm the mayor of this town. it ought to be kit bond. i mean, we're going to name it george bread, or after the quarterback, glenn dawson? anyway, thank you. >> i'd invite any of you to respond if you care to, please. you got to hit the button again, sorry.
>> one quick observation and that is there is legislation in the senate right now which i do not know if it's in the house it's called article 1 legislation that deals with the declaration of an emergency that the president used recently for the purposes of shifting that money. and give the power back. that's -- in fact i think it was introduced in the senate by of all people senator cruz from texas in a bipartisan manner. i would suggest you start looking at that kind of legislation as bipartisan to take back some the of the power that you should not be giving up at all. >> mr. timmens. >> thank you for taking the time to testify before this committee. it's been a rewarding process i'm honored to be part of it. one think i was going to ask ms. lynch was debt to gdp ratio included in any of the joint committee recommendation. >> that was something that the committee debated and considered. the idea that you would have some kind of fiscal target that
was part of a great deal are great deal of the conversation. i think ultimately a decision was made to make it more about budget process reform than budget reform. that being said the optional path for a bipartisan resolution for special procedures in the senate that include a debt to -- the resolution would establish a debt to gdp ratio and a glide path. >> thank you. mr. hoagland, we -- earlier i think that you were asked if a two year budget would be more politically manageable than two one-year budgets. what was your answer to that? did you -- >> well i think it's difficult first of all the one year budget is not working, obviously. so i think it's worth an effort to do biennium budgeting.
where i have some difference of opinion with the joint select committee's recommendation is, i feel like you ought to budget for two years and appropriate for two years. not appropriate every year after the biennium that's my only critique of the joint selection committee recommendation. now, the argument owls comes back but things are changing. well, yes they changed but at least set two years budget and appropriate for two years. and if you need supplementals add the supplemental in the second session. but i think if you go two-year biennium budgeting you should do biennium appropriations also. >> i would grow with you. is the current system better than one year budget two-year appropriations? is it better than nothing?
>> no, i -- i think -- i don't like the current system. i don't think it's performed. i feel like it's been -- not the way it should operate. one year budget and one year the one year budget and one year appropriation is not working and i would go to a two-year process i, really would. >> last year, 237 people are in the house to get that passed. but it was never considered largely because of the challenge with the committee and what they wanted to do in appropriations every year. i guess one of the things that we talk about in this committee a lot is not having a fight over whatever is left. if we can all agree and if there is no opposition to a two-year budget or a one-year appropriations schedule, i am saying let's start somewhere.
>> i now understand your question. this is a start, this is a two-year budget and if you have to have the appropriations go ahead that i hope eventually you would move to these budgets and these appropriations but it is a start. >> miss lynch. can you discuss the last time major changes were made to the budget process? historically? >> every congress has rules adapted in some house rules package that have some effect on the budget process and the last significant one would be the control after 2011 that had the joint committee on deficit reduction. thank you. >> the ratio this is something that you would all be in favor of what the conversation and making it part of the process or is that something that i
think is a step in the right direction? >> our group meddled with that and for us, it was all more about process and that information that has been brought in due process as part of the process to achieve a specific outcome where we couldn't achieve consensus we had differing views. with economic conditions and it needs to be part of the discussion and not part of the process. >> mandating will be part of a process of discussion and part of the report as delivered to the committees? >> i would say that we were mandated and it will happen naturally with better information among the crisis and so that you can all make the best decision you can. that will have that effect because it has to be part of the process and that can be a distraction and it might break
a norm. in terms of a norm that you don't want and a true disagreement about how to have that metric of its high, low or howit should be interpreted to make policy. >> today, the gdp ratio is about 70%, >> 78. >> 78. historically it's averaged around 40%. i've gone through a number of exercises were bringing that down and the demographics what we've already locked in spending going forward and i tell you it is very difficult to hold at 70% with the decisions you would have to make. going back to the issue of recognizing that if you set that percentage gdp you better be prepared for some very difficult decisions which both on the spending side and on revenue side. >> thank you mister chairman, i yield back. >> thank you. mr. dan newhouse. >> thank you for being here and contributing to this important
discussion. some of us and many of us are in the state and i don't know if every state does but most states use bi annual budgeting. and most states too, but it seems like federal government is a larger and more complex to get a matter of months versus a couple years which is unrealistic in my view. so i appreciate your contribution to this which is important and this discussion on how we can make this process. i'm in my third term and i can tell you that everybody in congress understands for the most part the significance of the debt that we face and how unsustainable this is. one of the biggest things that i have heard ever since i got here is that we can't do a whole lot about it and there is a mandatory versus discretionary spending which is one that has
been a really difficult obstacle and important for us to get our fiscal health in order. i guess i would like all of you if you had some thoughts about how we can crack that not and how we could move forward things in this discussion where we have better control over our spending and revenue and politically of it being a minefield and i know it's a difficult thing but it seems to be like were ever going to have our arms around this are going to have to address it and so, in a short amount of time that we have i know mr. hogan in your testimony we are unable to listen to firsthand but reading an effort of the report that mentions it so let's just start
with you. >> thank you congressman. yes, they had ten major recommendations with appropriating but also to do the total budget as you say and not focus on what we talked about and timmins was talking about setting some goal of having congress agree to a goal and not necessarily the goal of producing that that move to its first number. if you were to do that and make that law and the consequences of not getting those numbers, something like it wouldn't work out the way we thought it would be and there are serious consequences of those goals and making the process stronger is to do exactly what mrs. lynch was
suggesting. to set the goal in five to ten years out and willing to hit that target and will force not just to look at discretionary spending but will look at total budget. >> i would add from the convergence perspective that that leans towards an outcome but you have what we do and that is the whole point. it's full in the process so the process actually works so you have that discussion. year after year so if not, having a discussion year after year in a way that leads to a policy outcome you're punting there, punting every time. that was our perspective. you're talking about groups here that are very right leaning and some are in the middle. if we can fix the process you have to start taking on a big major issue such as that and regardless of your respective. >> miss lynch.
>> i think it's a great point that most people think of the process as being an annual process and the reality is about 70% is actually fixed. i think that it could be helpful to look at the 80s and 90s and the idea that you would lose the discretionary spending but the mandatory spending and you look at that as a whole and you look at what would be an appropriate amount for a deficit. congress would use the budget resolution and the reconciliation process and use the budget to make changes to mandatory spending and revenue in a way that would be projected to reduce the deficit. so, those tools are still available to congress and i think the eighties and nineties are good example because we had the chambers controlled by the different parties and he branches control
of different parties and were still utilizing those tools. >> can i add to that? that's exactly no surprise coming from the bipartisan policy senator that this means both sides giving up something and i would lose my credentials as a republican staffer but revenues have to be on the table. i don't think you can do this all on the spending side and the discretionary side to get close to releasing that gdp earlier. >> again i, appreciate your input on this. thank you mister chairman. >> i wanna pull on a couple of other threads and it is difficult to explain with constituents when the process goes on the rails and going to a coast guard base that was accepting donations of food and identify weeks where they want
to shut down which is sick. it is striking to me that when the process goes off the rails and the pain is felt by our constituents. in which the tattoo that each of us has on our arms now is fix this so that congress works better for the american people. i find myself wondering how you get out of this box. some of it is through process reform and i want to ask mr. hoagland, about looking at some of the incentives and disincentives. (technical problem) congress usually finds a way out of every mouse trap so, things like no budget, no pay, no budget, no recess even though, some bipartisan support would offer those ideas. he mentioned the incentive path which was an
expedited path in the senate by any what are we not thinking of? are there other threats that we should pulling on there in the incentive and disincentive so that it is striking because it's just about congress doing its job and it's meaningful though even after our about forcing function to get congress to do its job. >> again, thank you mister chairman. what are the proposals that i've warmed up two over the years isn't if you can't get your work done by those constituents and those coast guards the constituents are out there and they are upon a failure to reach that point and it's automatically continual on to the law and you don't have to pass another cr. the incentive and criticism that that what a hold down spending. but i would then make it such that over a certain
period of time the cr starts to produce and you keep government funding to avoid the issues that you have with the government shutdown. >> as the corrupt wrestled with this it's a very significant part of our discussion and i would say at least half of our meetings we were talking about incentives and heritage sticks and the fashion reform. the conversation about earmarks is a possible incentive. and you bring those back and ultimately, i think the thing that came out is that there are so many things that you could do and we talked about no budget, no fund raising and we kept coming back
and that is the ultimate incentive that all of you have. so, the pain is going to be there and you have to face the music. if you want to get the budget done you will face the praise and time is up in the way we had this information in doing this on the constitution which is therefore it. if you understand them better about what will get us to get our work done or will punish us in a way that will create so much pain and what is left in our plans. >> is there anything on the menu that we haven't talked about? >> i'd say that the different budget process proposals that are out there, many and broad and in thinking
about this, i know you're thinking about this as what is the problem and what's driving this problem with the perform proposals. and what people believe is the problem. >> you mention the nation and i wanted to speak more to that and that's something that in a bias way the joint select committee with the best recommendation can you speak to that and what values you see in that specific reform. >> thank you, this generated a lot of discussion and again the principal being have an informed budget and great information can exactly the right time of the process which really helped and was the seminal value which was receiving medicare in social security report and it all gets packaged in one place and that constituents can see it, all
these policy makers get to see it and the way we envision the -- really had that strength and simplicity to convey the information, that's something that we needed to pick up and we anticipated every year. in the town hall meetings with, the election debates and the presidential debates the. questions are going to be asked, what's your plan for the fiscal state of the nation and time and time again people will be on the hook to have to respond to that in a way. we were encouraged by the committee in terms of thinking about the seminal moment of getting that information all in one place and raise the american consciousness and we think that it will be a net positive for the process. >> mister chairman with their institutionalist their, and is that responsibility, there is a difference to me between producing all that information and if i'm aggressive i could find all that information as i
sit here, steadier today we certainly see it on the budget committee on various forms. my colleagues -- and present it. i put that in the same category as sticks. i have already been elected, i'm already supposed to be doing my job. to have an unelected person come and stand in the house chamber and chastise me for not doing my job, i'm not sure how that advances the process. from an institutional perspective. it is their merit in having the unelected come and make that pitch or what do you target your sticks elsewhere? >> first of all i think having good information is always helpful. as you say, quite frankly with all due respect, information is out there. you can get the info if you need it, you know what the issues are, you don't need a cbo director to come and tell you. you know
what the issues are. so with all due respect, i am fine with giving more information, i don't think that will really change things that much. i think you really need something that's harder than just, here's the information, chastise you, have a red face if you don't follow through. i don't think that will change anything out there fundamentally in terms of your decision-making process. i would have much harder sticks. i would have an automatic cpr with cuts if you are not getting your work done. and really have some pain back on you. >> mister chairman, interesting to have a discussion about how to inform our bosses as aggressively as we are informing ourselves. i appreciate that the convergence group came to the conclusion that we are supposed to throw the bones out every two years if they are not doing their job. and if we are not getting the right information out to the folks who are making those decisions in november, perhaps there are ways that we could do a better job of that as well. >> i will just mention, we
thought about in the last committee, there was some discussion about the auto cr and this is one of those where my opinion changed the more i thought about it. because again, there is unintended consequences no matter which direction you go. there is a potential unintended consequence if you do an auto see our with as you suggested, a deflator ... that may serve the interest of some to never pass a budget or a real preparations bill. you can do it with an inflated and that would serve the purpose of others to never pass an appropriations bill. i think it's tricky. >> thank you mister chairman and thank you for being here to our witnesses for being here. i am joining you a little late, i came from another hearing. but i know some have talked about
this a little bit before. we were definitely founded as a country on the idea of making sure that we have a separation of powers, on our three branches of government. over the years, congress has provided i believe too much discretion to the executive branch to carry out our laws. it's been a convenient tool for administration after administration. it allows folks to not have to work with congress, power can be misused for their own agenda. so according to the brennan center for justice there are 123 statutes that enable the president to make policy in particular areas without going through ordinary law making process is upon the declaration of a national emergency for example. i feel it's imperative that, panda priority of our committee to figure out how we make sure that we take back or congress is legitimate powers. the legislative branches power over the purse strings is one
of the primary checks and balances over the executive branch. some miss lynch, i want to ask you, what do you think are some of congress is options to make sure that we restore that power that we have let go? >> what i can say about that i think is that many people have argued that new budget process components that have been implemented in the last few decades have given more power to the executives. the idea that the empowerment control act, yes limited the person's ability to empower money, but some argue that it gave them the executive permission to withhold that money for a while that they wouldn't have otherwise had. -- being a way of giving more power to the executive to enforce different budgetary decisions. and some of argue that the elimination have instead put that power with the administration. looking at some of those issues and thinking about maybe how to
reform those. >> but if we look more broadly, if anyone else had's feedback, there are those specific issues but i think they are probably operational efforts, are maybe you have talked about these a little bit already that we need to do so we are also making sure that things are moving and that we are making the decisions we need to make in a timely fashion. >> congresswoman, when you are out, i suggested there is a legislation article which would restore the national security declaration and give power back to you to be able to overcome that. i have another suggestion about why you would want to think about that and that is, make the law specific that no precision's can be submitted to congress 60 days prior to the end of the fiscal years. we had a situation here just recently
when there was a possibility that there was effectively over way in which the president could submit decisions that you would not have an opportunity to act on. so i would change the law, make it certain that recipients could -- >> miss lynch, on a slightly different note, what do you think the committee's biggest takeaway should be from the joint committees work? >> represented from sea aires, we don't make recommendations but the takeaways was that we really did see some odd bed fellows in terms of by camera relationships and bipartisan relationships, those did seem to ultimately lead to the recommendations that were included in the amendments. >> anyone else have opinions on that?
>> i think the biggest takeaway for me was biannual budgeting has a lot of residents on both chambers and both that we could do better with respect to informing policy makers and the public, one other element and lastly, there are some changes that could be made to the budget committee to strengthen its hand in order to leave the process. >> thank you. we ran out of time so thank you mister chairman i yield back. >> mr. cleaver, did you have another question? >> it's called the grove anna island bridge. and kitchen, alaska. thank you. >> with that clarification, i would like to thank our witnesses for their testimony today, i also want to acknowledge and give gratitude
to the committee staff for the hard work that they did putting together these hearings. as well to the appropriations committee for letting us use their glorious room. without objection, all members will have five legislative days which to submit questions from the witnesses to the chair. forwarded to the witnesses for their response i asked them to respond as properly as they are able. all members will have five legislative days within which to submit extraneous materials, with that, my gratitude to all of you for participating and all of the numbers who have shown up. this meeting is adjourned. thank you everybody.
>> next, a look at legislative proposal related to outdoor recreational use of federal land. officials from the u.s. for service and impair your department going outdoor recreation industry representatives to testify on the impact of outdoor recreation on local economies and efforts to streamline the permitting process of use of