WASHINGTON – Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning) has joined his fellow republicans in the House by saying that legislators don’t deserve to get paid if they don’t pass a budget. On Wednesday the House of Representatives voted to approve a three-month extension of the nation’s debt limit in a bill that also has a clause in it that pressures lawmakers to adopt a budget or have their pay withheld.
The vote passed by a count of 285-144. Thirty-three Republicans opposed the measure, while 86 Democrats voted to approve it, sending the legislation to the Senate where it is also expected to pass, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
The bill, known as the No Budget No Pay Act of 2013, directs both chambers of Congress to adopt a budget resolution for fiscal year 2014 by April 15, 2013. If either body fails to pass a budget, members of that body would have their paychecks put into an escrow account starting on April 16 until that body adopts a budget.
During a conference call earlier this week, Congressman Reed said the Bill is intended to bring accountability back to Washington.
“What we’re trying to do is, once and for all, force the Senate to do what is required by law – what is required by every household in America to meet their operating expenses on a day to day basis,” Reed said. “That is to put in black and white their budget, their proposals, their details as to how we’re going to deal with this debt crisis and the entitlement crisis that is upon us.”
Congressman Reed also said that the country is currently facing $16 trillion in debt and expects the number to grow by $4 trillion by the end of President Obama’s second term – unless spending is addressed in Washington.
Although the bill, if approved by the Senate, would withhold pay of the lawmakers, it would only be temporary. Any pay that is withheld would eventually be released at the end of the current Congress even if a budget doesn’t ever pass.
Democrats have also pledged to pass a budget in the Senate this year. The Senate has not passed a budget resolution since April 29, 2009.