FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, November 29, 2018

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Joint Committee on Budget Disappointingly Wraps Up Without Issuing Legislative Report

A Serious Reform Effort That Bowed To Lack Of Political Will

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Congressional Institute President Mark Strand issued the following comment regarding the work of the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reforms:

“It’s very disappointing that the Joint Committee is closing out its work by voting down its recommendations. All of the committee members were committed to finding solutions to the budget problems that plague Congress. This was a serious effort at reform that could have made meaningful changes, but in the end, the committee recognized that the lack of political will for Congress to change itself was too big a hurdle to overcome.  

“The fact is, Congress’ budget process is broken, and that basic dysfunction makes it hard for the American people to believe their elected representatives are working in their best interest. Joint Committee members spoke about returning to their districts, having to face anger and grave concerns from constituents who experienced hardships from government shutdowns and the uncertainty that comes with continuing resolutions that just kick the can down the road. Not being able to vote on items that had strong bipartisan and bicameral support such as biennial budgeting sends a distressing message to constituents that Congress is unwilling to fix itself.

“The divided Congress that begins in January will not accomplish much policy-wise. This is a great opportunity, though, for Members to focus on reform initiatives that can make Congress function more effectively and efficiently. The Joint Committee has laid the groundwork through the hard work led by Co-Chairs Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY). While the committee will not produce a report with recommendations, there were several ideas that Members could encourage their respective leadership and colleagues to support. The Joint Committee is a missed opportunity, but it is my sincere hope that their valuable work will continue.”


The Congressional Institute is a nonprofit organization that examines the operations of Congress and provides guidance to members, congressional staff, and the American public on understanding how Congress works and how it can work better. The Institute has published several white papers looking at reform ideas and analyzing congressional dysfunction. Mark Strand has written extensively on the need for a Joint Committee that would have the authority to recommend significant reforms to fix Congress. His opinion pieces include:

Here’s How to Reform Congress to Make It Actually Work
Published In: TIME Magazine

Joint Committee Can Make Meaningful Reforms to the Broken Budget Process
Published in: The Hill

Want Congress to Reassert Its Authority? Fix the Budget Process
Published In: Real Clear Policy

How Congress Can Make the Earmark Process Work
Published In: Stanford Law Review