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CRFB Supports Enzi’s Proposed Changes to Senate Budget Process

Senators could improve the budget process by limiting amendments, sharing resolutions and amendments in advance and designating more floor time for debate, according to a report released Thursday by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

The recommendations bolster proposed changes to the Senate budget process put forth last month by Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wy.) that, among other things, would impose a filing deadline on amendments and limit the number of votes on them, as well as strengthen enforcement of budget points of order and create subcommittees on the Budget Committee to review spending and tax measures.

“A filing deadline could encourage senators to offer substantive amendments that are defensible on their merits as opposed to putting a good sound bite before substance,” CRFB said today in its report, adding that a limit “would force leaders in both parties to focus on major issues by setting priorities on which amendments are most important.”

The CRFB praised Enzi’s proposals as “productive steps toward creating a more effective budget process.”

“The appropriations process will inevitably generate controversy over funding levels and policy riders that will make it a challenge to pass appropriations bills in a timely manner, but setting aside floor time devoted to appropriations could help facilitate action on them and reduce the need for continuing resolutions and omnibus appropriations,” CRFB said, adding that the plan could prompt senators to delay passage of a budget resolution so they can tackle other bills.