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story.lead_photo.caption Steve Womack

ROGERS -- A bipartisan budget process reform bill should get committee approval next week and go before the next session of Congress, U.S. Rep. Steve Womack said Thursday. The bill is a major goal of the congressman, whose tenure as House Budget Committee chairman will end in January after one year.

The reform bill will come from the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform, which Womack help found shortly after his appointment as budget chairman. The former Rogers mayor is a Republican. Democrats won the majority in Tuesday's election and take over standing committees such as budget when the next Congress is sworn in.

"If John Paul Hammerschmidt can serve 26 years in the minority, I can serve a couple," Womack quipped during his remarks to the Summit, an hour-long lunchtime event held at Cross Church Pinnacle Hills. Womack handed two local veterans of World War II his speaking time during that event in honor of Veterans Day, which is Sunday.

Pat Patterson and Chuck Hurl, both of Bella Vista, told Womack and the audience of their experiences in World War II. Patterson was a decoding specialist in China for the Office of Strategic Services. Hurl served as a tank commander in Europe.

Womack said in an interview after the luncheon that the joint reform committee was set up in such a way as to build bipartisan consensus. The committee is drafting a measure to streamline a budget process, a legislative procedure so full of potential stumbling blocks and points of resistance that it has never produced a regular, passed budget bill since Womack entered Congress in 2011, he said.

Details of the committee's proposal will come out when and if the bill wins majority approval of the joint committee, Womack said. Joint approval must include at least five Democrats and five Republicans from the evenly divided 16-member committee. Again, that requirement is part of a design to ensure both major parties have formed a consensus on reform, Womack said.

The regular budget cycle, meanwhile, has never stopped. Congress has to authorize spending on Dec. 7. "I hope it is not another continuing resolution," he said, referring to the practice of approving a status quo, temporary measure to continue spending at current levels.

NW News on 11/09/2018

Print Headline: Womack: budget reform bill is close

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