U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) today introduced the Pay Your Bills or Lose Your Pay Act of 2013, legislation that would prevent Members of Congress from being paid should they fail to raise the debt ceiling and the government defaults on its bills.
"If members of Congress are willing to let America become a deadbeat nation by not paying our bills, we should not be paid our salaries," Senator Boxer said. "Our legislation would help prevent a catastrophic default by putting pressure on lawmakers to do the right thing and honor our nation's financial obligations."
"America has always paid our bills," Representative McDermott said. "We are not a nation of deadbeats. This isn't a debate about curbing expenses, it's about fulfilling the promises we've already made."
Republican leaders have repeatedly refused to take the threat of a government default off of the table. The last time Congress played politics with the debt ceiling, Standard and Poor's cited "political brinksmanship" as the primary reason it downgraded the credit rating of the United States for the first time in its history. If the Treasury Department is forced to take measures to avoid defaulting on the government's obligations, it would cost taxpayers $18.9 billion over 10 years.
If the government fails to increase the debt ceiling, the legislation would require the salaries for Members of Congress to be placed in an escrow account until the debt ceiling is increased, or the end of the session, whichever occurs first. The measure is based on the "no budget, no pay" language signed into law when the debt ceiling was increased in January 2013.