Executive Office of the President

Go to a 2-year budget cycle

The annual budget reconciliation/formulation/allocation process takes a heavy toll on productivity and increases our costs considerably. Switching to a biennial cycle would cut the headaches and losses in half. Under the current system, our fiscal and budget people shut down spending as early as July so they can begin to reconcile the books. Then, due to the political posturing and complexity in passing the budget, we are restricted to minimal fiscal activity from October into January due to Continuing Resolutions. As a result, we can only operate at normal levels, with full funding and authority to expend it, for about 5 or 6 months of every year. Who runs a business like that? The uncertainty, fiscal restrictions, and loss of productivity hurt our customers and missions. If the budget cycle was switched to become a two-year process, we'd have 18 months of unfettered productivity before the reconciliation, formulation, and allocation-related restrictions are imposed. Plus, we'd probably get better value in our contracts because we could commit to longer terms while potentially cutting the paperwork in half.

 

This probably requires a constitutional amendment and would affect every sector of the Government. In that regard, it may be out of scope for the Save Awards, where I suspect the ultimate winners will be "baby steps" kinds of ideas. But, if you really want to improve efficiency, this would be a huge leap forward. And, it's worth noting that a 2-year budget cycle still allows even 1-term Representatives to Congress to have the opportunity to impose their politics on the Federal budget. I doubt the Founders envisioned the volume and complexity of the current budget process, but I’ll bet they would never have required an annual cycle if they knew how badly it stifles our productivity and increases our costs.

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Idea No. 4044