Punishing Congress's bad behavior

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The motivation for proper legislative behavior is accountability tied to salary, so Cooper is asking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to retain a prohibition on member pay when the upper chamber amends the continuing resolution the House passed Friday. A version of Cooper's own bill, H.R. 1884, passed the House overwhelmingly in May with 340 votes. It provides that "Members of Congress shall be paid last whenever the Treasury is unable to satisfy the obligations of the United States Government in a timely manner because the public debt limit has been reached."

While Cooper acknowledged Reid isn't inclined to do this, he offered the following reasons for his recommendation: "1) call the Republicans' bluff by making their threat real; 2) gain the support of the American people by being honest with them; 3) take this additional step toward paying Congress for their performance; and 4) help make Democratic incumbents more popular with voters." All of which, Cooper hopes would discourage the chaos and recklessness that has come to define the current state of Congress. "We won't have to worry about manufactured crises and constant deadlines if we have the courage to punish bad legislative behavior," he wrote.

What say you, Sen. Reid?

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