No Budget, No Pay Act: Strong Dose of Tennessee Commonsense for Washington
By Congressman Diane Black
Each of my grandchildren, none of them older than the age of 15, knows that if they do not do their chores, they do not get their allowance. They do not expect to be compensated for being irresponsible, nor do the millions of hard-working, taxpaying Americans across this country. And Members of Congress should not be any different!
But it has been over 1,000 days since the Democrat-controlled Senate has bothered to pass an annual budget – one of its most critical and fundamental responsibilities. With no Senate approved budget, Congress will go another year with not even a chance of a budget being signed into law.
The good news is the fiscal crisis we face is both predictable and preventable. The bad news is, with no budget, the impending disaster will not be prevented.
That is why, as a member of the Fix Congress Now Caucus, I have cosponsored the No Budget, No Pay Act to withhold the pay of Members of Congress if they do not get their act together and pass a budget.
Congress so routinely misses budget and appropriations deadlines that it has gotten to the point where members do not take these deadlines seriously, since there is no consequence for being late. The No Budget, No Pay Act says that if Congress does not pass its budget and all its appropriations bills by October 1st every year, then Congress does not get paid. Retroactive pay is not an option. Once pay is withheld, it is gone for good.
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed Budget Resolutions for the previous two fiscal years on time. The U.S. Senate on the other hand has yet to introduce, let alone pass a budget in over 1,000 days. Since then, the national debt has grown from $11 trillion to nearly $16 trillion, and unemployment has been above 8 percent for the last 41 straight months. We need an annual budget supported by both Chambers of Congress and the President that brings spending in line with revenue.
The stakes are too high for Congress to just kick the can down the road another year. The No Budget, No Pay Act is the strong dose of straightforward Tennessee common sense that Congress desperately needs.
Congressman Diane Black represents the 6th Congressional District of Tennessee