No Budget, No Pay provided sorely needed accountability for our legislators. And it worked. Last week saw the delivery of budgets from Democrats in the Senate and Republicans in the House.
But there’s still a missing piece of the budget puzzle. The president is required by law to submit his budget proposal by the first Monday in February, but President Obama’s budget is late. In fact, this is the first time in history that Congress has released its budgets before the president. And if President Obama releases his budget on April 8, as recent reports suggest, it would be the latest budget presented by a president not in his first year of office since 1921, when record-keeping began.
That’s why we believe it’s time to expand No Budget, No Pay to the executive branch.
If the president doesn’t submit his budget by the first Monday of February – as the law requires – he or she should not be paid until the budget is released and transmitted to Congress.
Although No Budget, No Pay could only apply to future presidents (the Constitution prevents current presidents’ salaries from being increased or decreased), President Obama would take a big step toward more accountability in our government if he agreed to apply No Budget, No Pay to the executive branch.
Congress took its medicine with the No Budget, No Pay Act earlier this year. Now it’s time to hold the presidency to the same standard.
In the meantime, the White House should be showing a lot more urgency about getting its budget out.
Timely budgets won’t guarantee that we will solve our fiscal challenges. But without them, we never will -- until there’s a crisis that nobody wants.