By Quin Hillyer at The Washington Examiner;

Wouldn’t it be nice if Congress could pass its spending bills in an orderly fashion without threat of a government “shutdown”?

No false drama about national parks being closed down or soldiers denied paychecks. No fulminating politicians pointing partisan fingers. No media conniption fits.

To avoid the regular recurrence of those ills, and to make fiscal profligacy at least somewhat easier to ward off, Reps. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., and Paul Mitchell, R-Mich., on Thursday will introduce a bill to reform Congress’ budget process. The bill makes good sense.

Byrne’s and Mitchell’s Protecting Our Children’s Future Act of 2018 (henceforth: Byrne-Mitchell) would replace the clunky process that has been in use, but has almost never worked well, since 1974. The bill’s first insight is that annual appropriating for a fiscal year beginning in October doesn’t work well for a Congress with large turnover every other January. Byrne-Mitchell therefore would replace annual appropriations with a logical, biennial process allowing time for fuller oversight of spending and fewer artificial deadlines.

Next, it would eliminate a 41 percent Senate minority’s ability to create a shutdown crisis by endlessly filibustering appropriations bills. For the first time ever, appropriations bills would be subject to so-called “reconciliation” rules allowing for passage via a simple-majority vote if those bills fit within the guidelines of an official budget resolution. Even better, it would pressure Congress actually to do its job and pass a budget resolution in the first place: If Congress fails to pass one by June 30 of the first session of each two-year term, members’ salaries would be held in escrow.

(Note: Methinks it would be better both to hold their pay and reduce it slightly for every day the deadline is missed. Friendly amendment, anyone?)….

[The full column is available at this link.]


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