Congressman Steve Daines today introduced his first piece of legislation: the Balanced Budget Accountability Act. Daines' bill requires Congress to be accountable to the American people by passing a budget that will balance in ten years, or members will see their pay terminated.
Like the No Budget, No Pay Act signed into law by President Barack Obama on Monday, the Balanced Budget Accountability Act forces Congress to be accountable to the American people. Daines' legislation marks the next step in this process, requiring Congress to pass a budget that will balance in ten years. If such a budget is not passed by April 15--the legal requirement for Congress to have passed a budget--members will see their pay terminated.
"This is common sense," Daines stated. "The American people deserve a balanced budget. Unfortunately, Washington remains unwilling to take the steps needed to get our country back on solid fiscal ground. The Balanced Budget Accountability Act reflects the things we've seen work in Montana: common sense business principles that protect hardworking taxpayers, making elected officials accountable to the people they serve, and of course, balancing the budget. We must make smart decisions today so that we can give to the next generation what they've been promised. The Balanced Budget Accountability Act will help us do that."
Daines recently addressed a joint session of the Montana State Legislature, calling on Congress to adopt the same principles followed by Montana's legislators and pass a budget that would balance in ten years. The Montana State Legislature's sole constitutional requirement is passing a balanced budget.
Daines released a video statement today introducing the Balanced Budget Accountability Act and sharing parts of last week's speech to the Montana State Legislature. The video statement may be viewed here.
Background on the Balanced Budget Accountability Act
The No Budget No Pay Act applies to the FY 2014 budget and will soon become law. The Balanced Budget Accountability Act is the next step in demanding member accountability and a balanced budget.
The Balanced Budget Accountability Act states that the budget for fiscal year 2015--and each subsequent budget--must balance the budget no later than FY 2023. Pursuant to the 27th Amendment, starting in 2015 members of the House and Senate would receive pay after April 15 only if their respective chamber passes a budget that satisfies this balanced budget requirement by that date.
The legislation's pay for performance concept applies to the House and Senate separately. The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 requires both chambers to complete work on a budget resolution by April 15. The bill's pay for performance provision follows the timeline of this statutory obligation.
The legislation stipulates that the Congressional Budget Office must certify that a House or Senate-passed budget would result in a balanced budget by FY 2023.
A copy of Daines' bill may be found here.