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Joint Select Committee Holds Public Hearing on Appropriations Process

Jul 12, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform conducted its fifth public hearing, Opportunities to Improve the Appropriations Process. During this hearing, members considered the current challenges facing the appropriations process in Congress and discussed possibilities for improvement.
Witnesses included the Honorable Leon Panetta and the Honorable David Obey. Most recently, Panetta served as Secretary of Defense during the Obama Administration. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles in the legislative and executive branches, including Chairman of the House Budget Committee in Congress, White House Chief of Staff, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Director of the CIA. Obey served as part of the Wisconsin delegation in Congress for more than four decades. During his tenure, he led as both Ranking Member and Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. 
Following the hearing, co-chairs Steve Womack (R-AR) and Nita Lowey (D-NY) issued the following statements:
“Today’s hearing further demonstrated that the issues we are seeking to fix with the budget and appropriations process in Congress transcend party lines,” said Republican co-chair Steve Womack. “Focusing specifically on the appropriations piece of the larger process, our discussion was greatly enhanced by the wisdom offered by the distinguished witnesses in attendance today. As we determine what a successful process looks like for future Congresses led by either party, I am grateful to former Secretary Leon Panetta and former Chairman David Obey for lending vital historical perspective on past successes and failures.”
“Today we heard some very interesting testimony from two distinguished witnesses with many decades of experience with the federal budget and congressional processes,” said Democratic co-chair Nita Lowey. “They reminded us that, while the budget process may need some adjusting, what’s far more important is finding ways to deal with the current political environment that has become such a hindrance to constructive legislating.”
The Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform was established by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which was signed into law on February 9, 2018. A bipartisan and bicameral panel tasked with considering and recommending reforms to the current budgeting and appropriations processes in Congress, the Committee is comprised of 16 members, equally divided between the House and Senate. Four members each were appointed by the Speaker of the House, the Senate Majority Leader, the House Democratic Leader, and the Senate Democratic Leader. House Budget Committee Chairman Steve Womack (R-AR) and House Appropriations Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) were tapped to lead as co-chairs of this panel. Chairman Womack also serves on the House Appropriations Committee.
The Select Committee is required to hold public hearings and report recommendations and legislative text by November 30, 2018. For additional background on the Select Committee, including members appointed to the panel, click here.