With yet another budget delay from Official Washington this week, Iowa Congressman Tom Latham voted today to increase pressure on the White House to explain how it intends to balance the budget and set the country on a path to fiscal sustainability.
The Require A Plan Act (H.R. 444) would compel the President to submit, in detail, an estimate of the earliest fiscal year (FY) in which his budget would balance if his FY 2014 budget proposal fails to balance within 10 years. On Monday, the President missed his legal deadline to send his budget to Congress for the fourth time in five years, despite recent pledges to promptly begin working with Congress to pave a path forward.
Latham said that the latest delay from the White House, one in a long line of costly milestones by Official Washington in failing to resolve the country's fiscal crisis, is yet another opportunity to highlight how elected officials in Washington must begin making progress without further holdups.
"It's been proven the last few years that as long as Official Washington keeps missing deadlines and failing to budget, deficits will remain unacceptably high, the debt will continue its steep climb, and the nation's shared fiscal pain will go on hurting," Latham said.
"The Require a Plan Act would simply call upon the President to lead on critical fiscal issues by explaining in detail to the American people how he intends to balance the budget. For millions of hardworking Iowans and Americans who responsibly live within their financial means each day, this is a straightforward and reasonable request of a President who has been at the job for more than four years."
By law, the President is required to transmit his budget to Congress by the first Monday in February each year -- in this year's case, this past Monday, February 4. At the same time the White House missed its deadline, the Senate closed in on 1,400 days since it last adopted a budget resolution.
"Current and future generations are counting on their elected officials to save the country from a fiscal calamity, and the more steps Congress can take to hold itself and the President accountable to act quickly, the better," Latham continued.
The passage of the Require a Plan Act follows House approval of the No Budget, No Pay Act last month, a bill to withhold the pay of members of the House or Senate if either chamber fails to pass a budget resolution by April 15 this year. This bill is based on the same principles in legislation that Latham authored in 2012 and reintroduced this Congress, the Do Your Job Act, which would make the No Budget, No Pay Act's principles permanent. Latham's proposal freezes all funds to Congressional offices every year Congress fails to adopt a budget resolution for the coming fiscal year by May 15.
The Senate approved the No Budget, No Pay Act on January 31, and the President signed the legislation into law this past Monday.
You can read Congressman Latham's op-ed published in the Des Moines Register on the No Budget, No Pay Act and his similar measure here: http://latham.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=317971.