In what sounds more like a joke than any genuine effort at balancing the budget, the House votes today on what’s been dubbed the No Budget, No Pay Act. If passed by Congress, both the House and Senate have until April 15, 2013, to adopt a budget resolution for fiscal year 2014. If either the House or the Senate fails to do so, members’ paychecks will be diverted to an escrow account until said budget is reached.
As reported by Yahoo News, House Speaker John Boehner says:
“Taxpayers understand that you can’t keep spending money that you don’t have, so we’re going to continue to focus, especially here over this next 90-, 120-day period, on bringing some fiscal responsibility to Washington….”
Boehner goes on to remind Americans that:
“Over the last four years, House Republicans have offered plans, our budget plans. We’ve done our budgets but it’s been nearly four years since the Senate has done a budget…. Most Americans believe you don’t do your job you shouldn’t get paid. That’s the basis for No Budget, No Pay. It’s time for the Senate to act.”
While these sound like high stakes for Congress to sign on for, it’s dulled a bit by the fact that the 27th Amendment would prevent Congressional paychecks from being withheld past the end of the current Congress, January 2015. Still, going over a year-and-a-half without pay certainly sounds like a scenario they’d want to avoid at all cost (including refusal to pass such a high-stakes bill).
No Budget, No Pay, or H.R. 325, also includes a temporary suspension of the debt limit, which would allow the U.S. Treasury to borrow what it needs to “make ends meet” until May 18, 2013.