Congressman Jim Cooper (TN-05) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced legislation today that would stop congressional pay if Congress fails to pass its budgeted appropriations bills on time. The bill, which Cooper introduced in the House on Tuesday, would prohibit members from receiving pay after missing deadlines for budget and appropriations bills, and it would not allow for that pay to be recouped retroactively.
"Because America's credit rating is threatened, Congress cannot afford to be late paying its bills," Cooper said. "Threatening to stop paying Congress is the surest way to make sure we beat the annual Oct. 1 deadline. Congress must get its work done, or get no paycheck."
Sen. Heller introduced the No Budget, No Pay Act in the Senate.
"Year after year, Congress has failed to meet its basic budgeting responsibilities. If Nevadans don't complete the tasks their jobs require, then they don't get paid. Congress should be no different. If Congress does not do its job, then Congress should not get paid," Senator Heller said. "I'm pleased to join Rep. Cooper and No Labels in this bipartisan effort to break political gridlock in Washington."
According to the Congressional Research Service, Congress has not passed all its appropriations bills on time since 1997. It has done so a mere four times since 1977.
This summer, Cooper introduced the Stop Pay for Members Act (H.R. 2653), which would halt congressional pay if the country defaults on the national debt. The bill would prohibit members from receiving pay during a default, and would not allow for that pay to be recouped retroactively. The bill, which was referred to the Committee on House Administration, currently has 38 co-sponsors.
Cooper and Heller are both involved with No Labels, a citizen-based organization seeking ways to reform Congress. The No Budget, No Pay Act is one of a dozen proposals the group unveiled today.