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home : opinions : editorials February 05, 2016

2/14/2013 9:56:00 PM
Editorial: 'No budget, no pay' a toothless gimmick

Congress likes to impose draconian consequences - the fiscal cliff, sequestration, national default - on itself, and unfortunately on the rest of us as well, for failing to do what it's supposed to do.

The latest such gimmick is the "no budget, no pay" proviso, which we told you about this past month. The idea is that none of the lawmakers will get a paycheck until both the House and Senate pass a budget this year. For the senators, it's not an idle threat because they haven't passed a budget in four years.

But the threat is somewhat mitigated because so many members of Congress are wealthy enough that they can get along without their government paycheck and, besides, they get all the money back at the end of the congressional session.

No member will starve.

However, David Walker, a former U.S. comptroller general who leads the nonprofit Comeback America Initiative, has come up with a promising proposal to get the politicians to do their work: "No deal, no break."

Consider that the public is generally unaware how much time off Congress takes. Walker notes it plans to adjourn for the equivalent of a full month this spring while we confront at least two critical deadlines: March 27, when the government faces a shutdown if temporary funding resolutions aren't renewed, and May 19, when the debt ceiling will rise.

And the fiscal 2014 budget must be taken up whenever President Barack Obama sends his budget along.

Plus, the lawmakers take a week off for every federal holiday and virtually all of August.

"The premise is simple," Walker told The Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis, Tenn. "Stay in Washington and do your job and strike a meaningful fiscal deal that can restore fiscal sanity. And until that happens, don't recess."

That's 180 degrees different than the Arizona Legislature, for example, which does not break until the budget is complete and balanced.

Working at a job until it's finished - what a novel concept, Congress.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013
Article comment by: Minimum Wage To Politicians

might wake them all up and know how the middle-class live. No overstuffed salaries, endless credit cards, private secretaries, and government pensions, This would allow the politicians in Washington to really know how we live. No budget or work, NO paycheck. Remember, you work for the taxpayer, NOT the other way around.

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: Ghost Past

Tom, the house is charged by the constitution to budget and appropriate the money. The senate excuse doesn't stand. The 12 appropriations bills were done on time by the committees in the house. None were passed to the senate 5 out of 12 didn't make it to the floor of the house. Party leadership makes the rules, and they like omnibus bills to get pork projects funded and hold the president and us hostage. They simply don't care about you and me. When will you figure out that party doesn't matter?

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: Steamroller Trolling

@Delpaula Billywinds:

The last budget proposal put forth by Obama received no votes of any kind, because it was not voted on.

Trolls lie just so that they can get caught, because they are so desperate for attention.

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: Salary According To Accomplishments

Politicians should be paid according to their accomplishments, which would leave Obama and his administration without pay for the last four years. No benefits, pensions or credit cards unless jobs, deficit, economy, unemployment are taken care of. AND, the president should pay rent and buy his own food. Maybe receive a "minimum" wage and then he'll know how the lower class lives.

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: Delmar Billy

Well, I was looking for the jabs at Republicans and the not-so-subtle effort to show Obama as the good guy and the Republicans as the bad guys...but I DIDN'T see it.

Very commendable. A good, solid Editorial without a liberal bias. That's great to see indeed...professional and appropriate for the Editorial column.

But I did realize one omission from the column. It would have given a bit more perspective to have noted that the last budget proposal Obama put forth received ZERO, as in 0, votes from the Democrats in the Senate. Not even members of his own party could support such bogus, amateur, insidiously partisan material from Obama.

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Steele

With the Democrats not passing a budget for 4 years we see the thinking in Washington. With a big - big government president, a Democrat, the senate doesn't want their budget to be seen either. It's much more rewarding for attacking Republicans on their annual budget and 10 year plan to balance the budget that Harry Reid (D) is setting on and stopping from coming to a vote.

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: There You Go Again

Courier: Then, what is your workable solution to the federal government always spending more than they take in regardless of the amount they take in?

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