U.S. Rep. Ron Barber today voted with a bipartisan majority in the House to pass legislation that will hold members of Congress accountable if they fail to pass a federal budget.
Barber is an original cosponsor of the same-named No Budget No Pay Act that was included in the larger bill. Barber's original bill was introduced last week and would prohibit members of Congress from receiving pay after missing deadlines for budget and appropriations bills.
This is the first initiative of Barber's to pass the House and was introduced with 29 Republicans and 19 Democrats.
"It's irresponsible that Congress hasn't passed a budget since 2009. Congress must do the right thing and adopt a federal budget. That's why I cosponsored this bill and voted to hold Congress accountable," Barber said today. "Without a budget, we cannot have a clear plan to reduce our deficit -- something that Arizonans and I both know must be done immediately."
Barber voted today to pass the No Budget, No Pay Act, which passed the House on a 285-to-144 vote. Barber joined with 85 other Democrats and 199 Republicans to pass the legislation.
The bill suspends through May 18 the current debt ceiling, ensuring the government can meet its financial obligations, pay its bills and avert the risk of default.
"It is critical that we address our fiscal challenges. This bill averts the immediate risk of default, but we need a permanent solution." Barber said. "I am committed to working with my colleagues on both side of the aisle to provide certainty to Arizonans and our economy."
The bill also requires that if a chamber of Congress fails to adopt a budget for fiscal year 2014 by April 15, the salaries of the members of that chamber will be withheld until a budget is adopted.
The measure is intended to force the Senate to adopt a budget resolution which outlines long-term spending and revenue policies that address the nation's growing debt.
Barber noted that the Senate has failed to adopt an annual budget as required by law since 2009. House leaders have said they won't enact a long-term debt limit increase until such a long-term budget is adopted.
The Treasury hit the nation's current debt limit on Dec. 31 and is financing government obligations using "extraordinary measures." But without an increasing in the debt ceiling, the government is expected to be unable to pay all obligations in mid- to late-February unless it receives additional borrowing authority.