Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, today supported a bill that requires the Senate to pass a budget or forfeit their pay. The No Budget, No Pay Act (H.R. 325) passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 285-144. An overwhelming majority of Texas Republicans supported the measure.
Chairman Smith: "Americans across the nation set budgets for their family's expenses. They accomplish every single day a task that the Senate has neglected for four years. A fundamental responsibility of the government is to set budgets and stick to them. This is necessary not only to keep the country running, but to prevent it from running into the ground.
"The House of Representatives is willing to give the President and the Senate a final chance. This bill temporarily prevents America from defaulting on our loans. But it makes clear that the Senate must pass a budget in the next three months or suffer the penalty they're due for their delinquency: no budget, no paycheck. The Senate should tell the American people how they intend to spend their money.
"Our Founders established a system of government of, by and for the people. Hardworking taxpayers have a right to see how their money is being spent by their government. This bill ensures that Americans receive what they deserve -- a full accounting of how their taxpayer dollars are being spent."
Background: H.R. 325 makes clear that there will be no long-term increase to the debt limit unless there is a long-term plan to deal with the fiscal crisis facing our nation. The Senate has not passed a budget in more than 1,365 days. This bill requires the Senate to pass a budget by April 15, 2013 or forfeit their pay. Specifically, the bill states that if either chamber of Congress fails to pass a budget by the expressed date, its respective members will have their pay held in escrow until that chamber passes a budget or the last day of the 113th Congress, whichever comes first.