Georgia Voices: Dissecting the ‘No Budget, No Pay’ bill
by The Savannah Morning News
February 07, 2013 12:00 AM | 1191 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The concept is so simple that even a U.S. congressman can understand it: No work, no pay.

On Jan. 23, a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House approved legislation that would withhold the pay of members of Congress if they fail to pass a budget resolution, which is included in their job descriptions.

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Savannah) should be saluted for supporting the measure, which passed by a vote of 285-144.

But U.S. Rep. John Barrow (D-Augusta) voted against it. That’s shocking and disappointing. Barrow is a member of the “No Labels” group that had been pushing this bill and a Blue Dog Democrat who often bucks his party.

However, he and Nancy Pelosi were on the same side.

Fortunately, Barrow’s vote wasn’t needed; the “No Budget, No Pay” bill passed with ease. In fact, 86 House Democrats joined 199 Republicans in voting “yes.”

The measure directs both the House and Senate to pass budget resolutions by April 15. If either chamber fails to pass a budget in that time, members of that body would have their paychecks withheld until one is passed. It also extends the debt ceiling through May 18.

That gives Congress and President Barack Obama a few more months to agree to spending cuts — something the Democrats wouldn’t do as part of the deal to avoid going over the so-called fiscal cliff.

Yes, the vote means kicking the can down the road a bit longer. But this time, it’s for a good reason.

The Democratic-controlled Senate hasn’t passed a budget in four years. That’s inexcusable. It’s also a violation of the 1874 Budget Control Act. ...

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the upper chamber will pass “No Budget, No Pay” fairly quickly. Then both houses can immediately get down to work and approve a budget that reduces debt and is fiscally responsible for the long haul, not one that’s a short-term fix. ...

Putting members of Congress on the spot — Republicans as well as Democrats — is overdue. If duty alone won’t make them do their jobs, maybe the threat of going without paychecks will.

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