FIRST ON THE DAILY SIGNAL—Nearly 40 Republican senators gathered Wednesday afternoon for a frank conversation about Congress’ broken budget process and the rapidly growing national debt.

Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., led the conference meeting with his GOP colleagues in hopes of offering solutions to end the cycle of emergency spending requests and massive omnibus legislation. Ultimately, Marshall wants to deliver a budget on time—something so rare today that both the president and members of Congress routinely ignore deadlines and suffer no consequences as a result.

Following the meeting, Marshall spoke exclusively with The Daily Signal about the ideas they discussed and his hopes for the future. Our interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Rob Bluey: How was your conversation today? Do you feel optimistic or pessimistic about where things go from here?

Sen. Roger Marshall: It was a very, very positive, productive meeting. My background is in nuclear engineering, and I’m a physician. The first thing I want to do is describe the problem. And we certainly all agree the budget process is non-existent. We need to go back to do some type of budget process.

We all agree on the goal that we need some type of regular order, and put teeth in the laws that already exist. Some people disagree on what the perfect solutions look like, but we all have the same goal. So from that standpoint, it’s very good.

Bluey: When it comes to implementing some of those process changes, is your intent to show constituents what a Republican-led Senate would commit to doing in the next Congress?

Marshall: We’re looking for a commitment from our own leadership to say that they would fight for this budget process. I don’t know that we’re going to get to the Democrats between now and then, but my goal is to have bipartisan legislation that they would support.

Step one to me was getting all the ideas on the table. We’ve identified the problem. We’re talking about solutions and how much pushback was I going to get on some of these issues.

For example, what would you think about not allowing the president to give his State of the Union message until he gave us the budget? The president is consistently late, and not just [President Joe] Biden, but other presidents have been, too. They’re a month late when they’re supposed to turn in their budget.

Or if the Senate doesn’t do its budget resolution, are we willing to somehow take away some portion of the senators’ budget as well?

I was more interested in what type of teeth we can put in this budget process. I’m just trying to figure out where Republicans are, and then where would we find some moderate Democrats that might go along with this should we get Senate control next year.

Rob: Do you feel the Republicans who are vying for leadership positions are supportive of the ideas that you shared today?

Marshall: I think they are supportive, but to me, is it a priority for them?

Most of us are supportive of a lot of different things, but I want to hear, “Is this a priority that you’re going to fight for? Are you going to fight for regular order? Are you going to fight to make sure that we’re going to bring all 12 of those appropriation bills to the floor with an open amendment process?”

I’m still waiting to hear that from the people who are running for leadership.

Bluey: As a member of the Senate Budget Committee, do you feel that panel is willing to take some of these hard steps?

Marshall: On the Republican side, absolutely we are.

Sen. Chuck Grassley just gave a beautiful oratory on the history of the budget process. The Budget Act of 1974 is really what the law is centered around, and he was elected in 1975. He has just an incredible knowledge on the way it used to work and the way it was supposed to work.

It was never perfect, but basically Congress has just usurped all those powers to leadership in the Senate, the House, and the White House to do all this work.

We have Sen. Rick Scott and Sen. Mike Braun on that Budget Committee. They’ll be leading the charge.

What’s interesting to me is the Appropriations Committee. Sen. Susan Collins gave a great history on how the budget would be helpful to the Appropriations Committee, helping them to do their job. It was great news that the Appropriations Committee would love for us to go back to a formal budget process.

Bluey: Conservatives in the House made it a priority to have 12 separate appropriations bills when they took control in January 2023. How do you think that process has played out in the House?

Marshall: An A for effort. The most progress I’ve seen up here in my seven years. Speaker [Mike] Johnson is absolutely committed to that process, but then he gets drowned out by the White House and the Democrat-controlled Senate.

At the end of the day, it’s so tough over there on the House side when it’s such a small margin. So I don’t fault anybody in the House for not being able to carry that across the finish line.

Elections have consequences. This is what America gave us right now. The Senate is controlled by the Democrats. The White House is controlled by Democrats. And with a small Republicans majority on the House side, I think that they did the best they could do.

And by the way, we need a White House that’s supportive of the process as well. It’ll be a waste of time if we don’t have support from the White House on this process. Joe Biden will do everything he can to fight this budget process. We’re hopeful that President Trump will embrace a budget process. He’s a business guy. They do budgets. They get it.

Bluey: Is there a specific next step that your Senate Republican colleagues agreed to do?

Marshall: The next step is for us to take down all these ideas and then bring them back to the Budget Committee. Let us hash some of them out. We’ll start putting pen to paper on what that bill would look like.