Senate Consensus-Builder 'Fed Up,' Boards the 'No Budget, No Pay' Effort
The "no budget, no pay" movement is getting fresh traction in the Senate from a former GOP presidential candidate who says he's tried everything else in an effort to bring both sides together and get a budget passed.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, said today he will cosponsor and fight for legislation to cut off pay to Congress if it doesn't pass a budget and appropriations bills by the beginning of the fiscal year, Oct. 1, as required by law.
"How can you balance a budget if you don't have a budget?” Alexander said. "You wouldn't get paid at the Grand Ole Opry if you showed up late and refused to sing. The same should apply to members of Congress who don't do their jobs.”
Sen. Dean Heller's (R-Nev.) "No Budget, No Pay" Act has languished in committee since last year. The other co-sponsors are Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and David Vitter (R-La.).
The companion legislation in the House was introduced by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), a co-founder of the bipartisan Fix Congress Now Caucus. Cooper's bill, also introduced last year, is sitting in committee with 78 bipartisan co-sponsors.
"I have tried every other means I know of to persuade senators to do their work on time and it hasn’t worked," said Alexander, known as one of the most bipartisan GOPs in the upper chamber. "I am fed up with the failure of Congress to do its most basic job of managing taxpayer money and am I am sure most Tennesseans are, too. This is serious proposal by Sen. Heller and Rep. Cooper. It deserves bipartisan support and I will work to make it the law.”
"This is mostly a one-sided problem. The Republican House passed a budget on time in each of the last two years," the senator continued. "The Democratic Senate has not approved a budget for three years. Even though Democrats have been the primary offenders, both parties have not lived up to their responsibilities. It is time to enact new rules and make sure the job gets done regardless of who is in power."