How to Fix the Broken Appropriations Process? Televise It.

Once again, regular order has broken down on Capitol Hill.

A key constitutional responsibility of Congress, appropriating money, has become dysfunctional.

Part of the reason is that the government is now funded by continuing resolutions and omnibus spending packages. These resolutions and spending packages are the wrong way to govern, prevent progress from being made in cutting spending and are created largely through secret negotiations.
Those negotiations would make excellent television.

The way continuing resolutions and omnibuses are handled is a symptom of how the appropriations process in Washington is broken. Members of the House and Senate appropriations committees evade accountability by voice-voting bills which contain billions of dollars in federal spending.

Important spending bills, like the Labor/Health and Human Services/Education bills, don’t even get debated or voted on by either chamber.

The 12 spending bills continue to fail to be sent to the president’s desk following regular order by Sept. 30, the end of the federal fiscal year. Part of the result is the rise of the pernicious continuing resolutions and the mystery that surrounds their final assembly.