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story.lead_photo.caption U.S. Congressman Steve Womack is shown in this Feb. 21, 2018 file photo. - Photo by Randy Moll

ROGERS -- A bipartisan budget process reform bill should get committee approval next week and go before the next session of Congress, 3rd District Rep. Steve Womack said Thursday.

The bill is a major goal of the congressman, whose one-year tenure as House Budget Committee chairman will end in January.

The reform bill will come from the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform, which Womack helped 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 chairmanships of standing committees 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 hourlong lunchtime event at Cross Church Pinnacle Hills.

Womack handed two World War II veterans his speaking time during the 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 wartime experiences. Patterson was a decoding specialist in China for the Office of Strategic Services. Hurl served as a tank commander in Europe.

Womack said after the luncheon the joint reform committee was set up in such a way as to build bipartisan consensus. The committee is drafting a measure to streamline the 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 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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