An idea first introduced by Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) last Congress -- to withhold lawmakers' pay if they don't pass a budget on time -- was a key part of a bill passed by the U.S. House today (H.R. 325) to suspend the debt ceiling by four months. That bill gained support on a bipartisan basis and from members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Progressive Caucus, the New Democrat Coalition, the Blue Dog Coalition, and the freshman class of Democrats.
"The idea behind No Budget, No Pay came from a Nashvillian who approached me two years ago," said Cooper. "He said, 'I don't get paid if I don't do my job, and do it on time. Why should Congress be any different?' I agree, and this bill makes Congress follow the same rule that every American understands: do your work if you want to get paid.
"The President is right that the debt ceiling increase should be longer than four months and unconditional. But this bill is a step in the right direction to get Congress to take its duties seriously."
The bill passed by the House today would withhold Congressional pay for members of the House and/or Senate should either chamber fail to adopt a budget resolution by April 15. Congress has not adopted a budget in more than 1,300 days.
Before House consideration of today's debt ceiling bill, Cooper re-introduced a standalone No Budget, No Pay Act (H.R. 310) on Friday with Reps. Reid Ribble (R-WI), Ami Bera (D-CA), and Ron DeSantis (R-FL). That bill has 56 cosponsors and has been endorsed by the nonpartisan citizen group No Labels and by the Blue Dog Coalition.
Cooper testified about No Budget, No Pay before the Senate in March 2012. He also submitted a floor statement today into the Congressional Record about No Budget, No Pay.