Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Pa.) said Wednesday that he will introduce legislation to withhold congressional pay whenever Congress fails to pass a budget resolution and all 12 appropriations bills on time.
Rothfus said on the House floor that Congress cannot pretend to be managing the government's finances by passing giant omnibus bills, like the $1 trillion bill it will pass today. He said President Reagan criticized Congress decades ago for failing to consider all 12 spending bills, but said little has changed over the last 30 years.
Under his bill, both the House and Senate would have to pass a budget resolution by April 15, and all 12 appropriations bills would have to be approved by the end of July. It gives Congress two additional months to reconcile the differences between House and Senate appropriations bills.
If any of these deadlines were missed, members of the House and Senate would have their salaries withheld.
"If Congress is not performing its core constitutional duties in a timely manner, it should not get paid until its work is done," Rothfus said. "Let this year's omnibus be the last one, for Congress shouldn't send another one of these to the president."
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) spoke afterward, and said he would not be supporting the $1 trillion omnibus up today precisely because it's impossible for Congress to oversee government spending when it has just a few days to consider a more than 1,500 page bill.
"This is not the regular order promised to the American people, in which each of the 12 appropriations bills is painstakingly vetted," McClintock said. "Regular order would at least give the House a chance to examine and debate these questionable programs before we cast our votes, but not this process."