Pass a budget, Congress . . . or we’re NOT GOING TO PAY YOU

| January 21 2013
Christopher Cook

On Friday, we posted statements by Mssrs. Ryan, Cantor, and Boehner on the No Budget, No Pay legislation. The concept is simple; it’s been more than three years since Congress passed a budget, so . . .

As the Administration and Congress work through opportunities to cut government spending, there will be no consideration of a long-term debt-ceiling increase unless both the House and the Senate pass a long-term budget plan. The plan also includes a bipartisan proposal to withhold Senators’ salaries if they fail to pass a budget.

Here is Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) talking about his No Budget, No Pay legislation:

That video was recorded last May, which goes to show just how long this absurd problem has been going on.

How absurd is it that the Senate refuses to move a budget? Well, it might actually be illegal:

Actually, “the fact is,” Congress is required under the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 to pass a spending plan and then have it scored by the Congressional Budget Office and signed by the president. That none of this happens suggests a level of disrespect for the law and the people found only among criminals.

The author imputes “a level of disrespect for the law and the people found only among criminals” to Congress, and that imputation is quite reasonable. Let’s say it truly is illegal—–who is going to enforce that law? Who can actually force Congress to pass a budget? Who can call them to the dock if they do not? The Supreme Court? The House Oversight Committee? The National Guard? Sheriff Arpaio? This is one of those “no controlling legal authority” situations. Congress can flout the law with relative impunity.

Thankfully, there are proposals like No Budget, No Pay, that might actually get the job done by hitting Congress where it hurts. And you can sign Sen. Heller’s petition to voice your support here. Who knows, maybe the Do-nothing Senate will actually decide to do their jobs rather than sitting around doing crossword puzzles.

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