(Washington, DC) The bipartisan, bicameral Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Reform held its first open hearing on Tuesday afternoon entitled “Opportunities to Significantly Improve the Federal Budget Process.” U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a member of the committee, stressed the need for a solution to fix the broken budgeting and appropriations process in Congress, which hamstrings our military and ability to reign in reckless spending.
Watch Senator Ernst’s opening statement here and read the transcript of her remarks below:
Thank you, Mr. Co-Chairman. I truly am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve on this committee.
The most fundamental role of Congress – as laid out in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution – is to raise revenue and fund the federal government.
Unfortunately, Congress has consistently failed to execute this responsibility in a timely or an effective manner.
As noted before, since 1974, Congress has only passed all of its appropriations bills 4 times. Over the past 20 years, we’ve passed a budget resolution only 11 times. And since 1999, we are averaging 5 continuing resolutions per year. Five per year.
Unsurprisingly, our dysfunctional process has also yielded dysfunctional outcomes: growing deficits and $21 trillion in debt.
This ineffectiveness is not only bad governance – it is a threat to our national security. Our reliance on continuing resolutions has a devastating effect on our military.
As a result of our continued reliance on CRs, only three of the Army’s 31 Brigade Combat Teams are capable of deploying immediately to conflict. During continuing resolutions, the Army has $400 million less per month in their operating accounts.
Richard Spencer, the Secretary of the Navy, has said that inefficiencies stemming from continuing resolutions have resulted in $4 billion in waste for the Navy since 2011.
Our constituents deserve better than this cycle of governing crisis-to-crisis and I look forward to working with my colleagues in a bipartisan manner to put in place reforms to get our budget and appropriations process working again.
Again, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to spend this time with my colleagues working towards, again, a bipartisan fix to this very devastating situation.
So, again, thank you Mr. Co-Chair and I will yield.
This echoes what Ernst told Caffeinated Thoughts in March during a visit to Des Moines. She explained why she voted no on the Omnibus bill and her upcoming participation on the committee she addressed on Tuesday.