Third CR Emblematic of Broken Budget Process

The House of Representatives just passed a continuing resolution (CR) funding the government at last fiscal year’s funding levels for an additional few weeks, until March 11, as lawmakers continue to negotiate an omnibus appropriations bill for the rest of the fiscal year. The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

We are over a third of a year through the fiscal year and lawmakers are still operating the government on stop-gap measures. There shouldn’t need to be a third CR, or a second, or a first. The basic task of governing is budgeting, and yet again lawmakers have found themselves unable to get the job done.

The budget process is clearly broken. The President’s budget is now overdue. Congress hasn’t followed the budget and appropriations process as its scheduled by law in decades. And we continue to kick the can when it comes to the basic duty of funding the government.

Perhaps more concerning, policymakers are apparently considering a massive $1.5 trillion omnibus funding bill when this is all done. With inflation at a 40-year high, we shouldn’t be increasing discretionary spending by $125 billion. And without offsets, this increase could ultimately result in $500 to $900 billion of new borrowing over the next decade.

With the national debt headed towards a new record high as a share of the economy in the next decade, and the economy continuing to mount a strong recovery from the COVID-19 recession, it’s time to target and prioritize spending rather than enacting blanket increases. Lawmakers should come together to put our country on more sound fiscal footing. That starts by ​restoring discretionary spending caps at reasonable and responsible levels, which will both improve fiscal discipline and support a smoother and faster appropriations process. New revenues and mandatory spending reductions will also be required to fix our fiscal situation.

It’s long past time that we fix our broken budget process.


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