U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and a group of senators that included one Democrat put members of Congress on notice today in demanding they pass a budget. This time the demand comes with teeth.
The senators introduced a bill today that would prohibit Congressional pay until they pass a budget.
"I wouldn't run my former business without a budget plan to guide me. I can't believe we're trying to run the country without one," said Enzi. "A member of Congress is the only job in the world where you can spend $1 trillion more than you have and not be fired. We can't do that here, but we can stop being paid."
No Budget No Pay requires the Senate and House to pass a budget and all appropriations bills by the beginning of each fiscal year. If they fail to do so, then they would not get paid until Congress passes these measures in both chambers. The Senate has not passed a budget in nearly four years and has avoided passing most appropriations bills, choosing instead to use spending bill conglomerations and dozens of "continuing resolutions," which postpone important spending decisions.
Members of the House have introduced their own version of "No Budget, No Pay." The Senate and House versions differ, but both adhere to the Constitution, which prohibits members from increasing or decreasing their own salary. The House bill would keep member pay in an escrow account that would be paid out when a budget is passed or on the final day of the 113th Congress, whichever is earlier. The Senate bill would take effect at the beginning of the next Congress, in early 2015.
The Senate No Budget, No Pay Act is sponsored by Senators Dean Heller, R-Nev., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both R-Wyo., Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., John Boozman, R-Ark., Richard Burr, R-N.C., Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Tom Coburn R-Okla., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Bob Corker R-Tenn.