Congress must pass a budget

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President Obama, at his press conference Monday afternoon, urged Congressional Republicans to “set the debt ceiling aside” and raise it with no strings attached. This is a non-starter. We all agree that the United States must pay our bills, but when your credit card is maxed out, you don’t just raise the credit limit without first changing your lifestyle. It was disappointing to see the president once again duck responsibility for leading on this issue because the tough decisions can’t wait. We spend too much, borrow too much, and tax too much, and we do too little to create jobs and grow our economy. We need to start with significant spending cuts.

By law, the president is required to submit his budget to Congress by the first Monday in February. This would be an excellent opportunity for him to show Americans what his plans are for taxes and spending. The Administration, however, has notified Congress that their budget will be late again—the fourth time in five years. How can we take the president’s promise of a vigorous debate on deficit reduction seriously when he can’t even submit a budget blueprint to Congress on time? Echoing a similar note, the Democrat-led Senate hasn’t passed a budget since 2009. We have to get serious about getting our country back on track, and to do that we must pass a budget, cut spending and work to pay down our debt. Otherwise, we will just leave our children and grandchildren with a mountain of debt and less opportunity.

I take this responsibility so seriously that I signed on to the No Budget, No Pay Act introduced by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.). This legislation requires members of Congress to pass a budget by October 1 or forfeit their pay until a budget is passed. I also voted for H.R. 6726, a bill that would reject President Obama’s executive order to raise pay for members of Congress and other federal employees. If members of Congress can’t pass a budget we absolutely do not deserve a pay raise. Please be assured that I will continue to push for Congress to pass a budget. 

Roe is a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee.