Biennial Budgeting as a Model for Deficit Reduction in the Federal Budget Process
Koscinski, Daniel G.
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The sustained trajectory of annual federal deficits risks tangible, negative consequences for lawmakers and taxpayers alike. Projected to reach $900 billion in FY19, the budgetary deficit will hit $1 trillion by 2022, and amount to $11.6 trillion over the next decade. By 2023, interest payments on the debt will eclipse the entire yearly appropriation for the Department of Defense. Through their treatment of pay-as-you-go rules, the budget reconciliation provisions, emergency spending authorizations, and the disregard for discretionary spending caps, Congress has proved to be a guilty partner in aiding and abetting America’s untenable fiscal outlook. Since the enactment of the watershed Budget Control and Impoundment Act of 1974, executive and legislative branch actors alike have repeatedly proposed a biennial system of federal budgeting with split years of authorization and appropriation aimed at curtailing abused processes and functioning as a framework through which deficits can be diminished. This paper seeks to trace the legislative and structural history of deficit controls since 1974 before ultimately analyzing the benefits and detriments biennial budgeting would present to the federal budget process on policy and political grounds.
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