U.S. Congressman Paul Broun, M.D. (GA-10) today released the following statement announcing that he plans to vote against H.R. 325, the "No Budget, No Pay" legislation. The bill would temporarily suspend the statutory debt limit until May 18, 2013, allowing the Treasury to borrow unlimited amounts in order to meet federal government obligations. Additionally, H.R. 325 would direct the House and Senate to pass a budget for fiscal year 2014 under threat of holding Members' paychecks as collateral until the end of the 113th Congress.
"If Congress votes to remove the cap on how much the Treasury can borrow, it'd be akin to playing with fire," said Rep. Broun. "We've seen time and time again that once the federal government opens the door to increased spending, it doesn't have a great track record of going back later to close it. In the next few months, Congress has to deal with the implementation of costly new Obamacare policies and the $1.2 trillion sequestration deadline, not to mention the end of the six-month spending bill which is currently keeping the federal government open. Without a debt ceiling to serve as a reality-check, I worry that the Treasury will run up our tab so high that a limit will never be put back into place. And if by chance Congress does attempt to pass a new limit in May, the sheer magnitude of the increase -- quite possibly in the trillions -- will be a deal-breaker for many Republicans and Democrats alike.
"I'm encouraged that my colleagues can at least agree that without a budget, Washington cannot significantly cut spending or reform entitlement programs that are on an unsustainable path. I support the idea of putting Member paychecks on the line in exchange for a budget, because if we're not doing our jobs, we shouldn't be getting paid. However, that's the only good thing that I can see in this bill. The Treasury is one of the least transparent entities in our federal government as is, and I will not vote in favor of giving it a free pass to borrow and spend unlimited sums for even a single day -- let alone for the next four months."
In the 112th Congress, Broun introduced a bill called the Budget or Bust Act, H.R. 3883, which would remove the President from the budgetary process and force Congress to pass a budget or go unpaid. He plans to reintroduce that legislation later this week.