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Senate Passes No Budget, No Pay; Suspends Debt-Ceiling

Updated on February 17, 2013
Senate Majortiy Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)
Senate Majortiy Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) | Source
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) | Source
House Budgetary Committee Chair, Rep. Paul Ryan (R- WI)
House Budgetary Committee Chair, Rep. Paul Ryan (R- WI) | Source

The Senate passed legislation 64-34 on Thursday to suspend the debt-ceiling until May 19. Already passed through the House, President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.

Called No Budget, No Pay; the bill would require both chambers to pass a budget - or else. As the name suggests, legislators would be denied their pay until a budget was passed.

The 27th Amendment states that "No law varying the compensation" shall be passed. Lawmakers are attempting to circumvent the law by holding their pay in an escrow account either until they pass a budget, or until the end of the 113th Congress two years from now. Seems disingenuous at best and diametrically opposed to the spirit of the Constitution - but whatevs, am I right? Congress owns deservedly low approval ratings these days, and they need to do their damn jobs.

It has been said that many representatives were sent to the Hill in 2010 elections specifically not to do anything. Job well done, as it were.

Appallingly, the Senate has not passed a budget in over 1300 days. Budgets are important - windows into the soul. If us voters are to play our role in Democracy, we need to know what our legislators believe in. If they filibuster the budget and refuse to go on record, we cannot hold them accountable. Harry Reid and the Senate's budgetary behavior is an absolute dereliction of duty. Some would contend that by passing one continuing resolution after another, that the bills have been paid regardless. I a remain unswayed.

The House GOP - lead by Paul Ryan - passed versions of the Ryan Budget that are completely anathema to many Americans. Ryan himself was forced to backtrack on his own budget while attempting to appear more moderate in his run for the White House alongside Mitt Romney. Roller-skates aside, kudos to Mr.Ryan for putting his views on the record and organizing support.

While the Ryan Budget - even when allowed grand and fanciful projections - failed to balance until 2040. Now GOP leadership have committed Representative Ryan to write a budget that balances in a mere 10 years. Surely a fools errand, seems more akin to political sabotage.

Our leaders need to negotiate a grand bargain around the debt ceiling and avoid sequestration. They need to pass a budget. The need to do their jobs and act like leaders for a change.

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