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Nadler Opposes GOP's Linking of Congressional Action to Congressional Pay


Location: Washington, DC

Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) opposed H.R. 325, the Temporary Debt Limit Suspension bill offered by House Republicans to avoid a clean raising of the debt ceiling. This partisan legislation would suspend the debt limit only through May 19 and tie that suspension to congressional pay and budgetary actions.

Nadler issued the following statement:

"This partisan bill punts on the debt ceiling question by suspending it until May. While postponing defaulting on our debts for three months is better than an immediate default, it would create ever more uncertainty for businesses and consumers in an already uncertain economic climate.

"This type of gimmickry is precisely why we should do away with the debt ceiling altogether. We need to simply raise the debt limit, without tying it to unrelated policies, and allow Congress to pay the bills already incurred.

"Moreover, the so-called "no budget, no pay' provision in the bill, which prohibits congressional pay for Members of Congress until a budget is passed, is both dishonest and unconstitutional. It violates the 27th Amendment, which states: "No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.'

"The argument that withholding pay for a year-and-a-half, or a year-and-three-quarters, is not "varying compensation' is constitutionally laughable and beneath respect.

"Second, this is institutionalized bribery and extortion. It should never be considered. What this provision says is, "If you vote the way we think you ought to vote, you'll get paid. And if you vote the way we think you should not vote, you will not get paid!' That's why we have this provision in the Constitution -- we should not be bribing members! We should not say to a Member, "If you think the budget before you is not good for the country, you had better vote for it anyway because you have a mortgage payment coming due.' How dare we.

"And, finally, the last thing we want to do is say to people thinking of running for the Congress, "If you're not a millionaire, don't run because we can't guarantee you'll be paid your salary.'"

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