Tuesday, January 29, 2013
The members of Congress have brought the cries of “no budget, no pay” on themselves.
Lawmakers, on both sides of the political aisle, have been so entrenched in their own agendas and political ideology they’ve lost sight of governing the nation.
Congress, collectively, has not approved the budget required to be approved. Unfortunately, it seems each of the 535 members of Congress have very different ideas about why the budget shouldn’t be passed.
As a result, nothing gets done.
But now a group of House Republican leaders are standing together to advance the House budget. They are taking a populist approach to force action in the Senate on the budget or, at least, embarrass its Democratic leadership.
The Republican-controlled House inserted a “no budget, no pay” amendment into the must-pass bill to increase the government’s borrowing cap. Republicans advanced the measure as a one-year experiment.
The House is putting the Senate in an uncomfortable spot. It will have to strip “no-budget, no pay” from the debt-ceiling legislation if it doesn’t pass a budget or its members could challenge the constitutionality of the amendment after it is approved.
Either way, it forces Senate Democrats to explain themselves.
Democrats tried to avoid a huge showdown by seeking to nix the amendment early, claiming it wasn’t fair or constitutional.
While Democrats are probably correct with both claims, it doesn’t really matter. This is pure political theater — a gimmick.
In the end, we doubt the members of Congress will miss a paycheck.
But now the spotlight is shining brightly on the Senate, which could force action.
Frankly, it’s about time Congress was getting some heat to do its job. The Senate needs to pass a budget and then work out differences with the House.
We aren’t saying the House Republicans’ budget ideas are best for the country, nor do we know if Senate Democrats have the best plan.
What we do know is that members of both parties have been getting away with avoiding tough decisions and getting paid $174,000 (plus some sweet benefits) for dodging responsibility.
As a basic premise — even if unlawful or unrealistic — “no budget, no pay” has a nice ring to it.