U.S. Representatives Bruce Braley, D-Waterloo, and Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa City, have co-sponsored a bill to forfeit congressional pay if Congress can't pass a budget bill on deadline.
Loebsack signed on as a co-sponsor of the "No Budget, No Pay" bill Dec. 16. Braley joined him Feb. 13.
A press release from Braley's office reads:
The most basic responsibility Congress has is deciding how much money the government takes in and how much it spends. However, Congress has only passed its spending bills on time only four times since 1952. In the last 14 years, annual spending bills have been submitted an average of 14 months late.
“In the real world, there are real consequences if deadlines aren’t met,” Braley said. “There should also be real consequences if Congress can’t meet its deadlines. I can think of few stronger incentives to get politicians to do their job than tying their pay to their job performance. This idea is a powerful way to restore a little common sense to a Congress that has none.”
The government's fiscal year begins Oct. 1. Under the bill, if Congress can't meet that deadline to pass the new budget, congressional pay would cease until the bill is passed.
There is precedent for such action, at least at the state level. In California, voters approved a similar measure, and last year state lawmakers had their pay withheld when they did not pass a balanced budget on deadline. In New York, lawmakers had millions of dollars in pay withheld when their state budget was months late in 2010.
So what do you think? If Congress doesn't meet its deadline, should it give up its pay? Answer our poll, and tell us how you feel in the comments section.