Some in Congress want biennial budget

The U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

TEXT OF STORY

BILL RADKE: The federal government's budget year ends in a week and a half and Congress is nowhere near passing a new budget.

Marketplace's Janet Babin reports if at first you don't meet a deadline, push, push it back!


JANET BABIN: Lawmakers like to say yes. But each year around budget time, they become Dr. No's. They have to turn down requests for money or the deficit keeps ballooning. That's one reason why federal budgets are often late, especially in contentious election years. Now some in Congress want to take a page from state legislatures and only pass a budget every two years.

STAN COLLENDER: The only thing a biennial budget will cut is the number of politically painful votes members of Congress have to take.

That's Stan Collender with Qorbus Communications. He worked for both the House and Senate Budget Committees for years.

Fans of a biennial budget say the break would give Congress more time to hammer out a budget blueprint. But Collender says that blueprint would be wrapping paper just as soon as it's published.

COLLENDER: We're in a world where news is reported instantly, and it requires Congress not to wait two years before they respond with a budget.

About 20 states still use a biennial process. But many others have ripped up that rulebook in favor of a yearly budget.

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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