GOP lawmaker proposes reinstating ‘No Budget, No Pay’ law

GOP lawmaker proposes reinstating ‘No Budget, No Pay’ law
© Cameron Lancaster

A bill introduced in the House would revive a law Congress passed three years ago to withhold lawmakers’s pay if they don’t pass a budget.

The “No Budget, No Pay” measure lawmakers approved with great fanfare in 2013 expired after that year. And the concept hasn’t gained traction among the GOP this year, given the internal divisions currently hindering passage of a 2017 budget.

That didn’t stop Rep. Rob WittmanRobert (Rob) Joseph WittmanNavy official: Budget, readiness issues led to ship collisions Air Force One is Trump’s new boardroom 355-ship Navy not a must under Trump's secretary nominee MORE (R-Va.) from introducing legislation to reinstate “No Budget, No Pay” as a way to pressure his own party to pass a spending blueprint.

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“It’s time for us to put aside partisan bickering, and get to work on a budget that reflects the will of the people and provides some certainty for businesses and communities in the year ahead,” Wittman said in a statement.

Wittman’s bill would require members of the House and Senate to forgo their salaries — which start at $174,000 annually for rank-and-file lawmakers — if Congress doesn’t pass a budget resolution by April 15. 

GOP leaders have blasted Democrats over the years for declining to move budget resolutions when they controlled the Senate. This year, though, House Republicans are having trouble corralling enough votes to pass a 2017 budget blueprint because of conservatives who are insisting upon lower spending levels. 

The House Budget Committee advanced a spending blueprint last week after a marathon markup session. Yet it’s unclear when, or if, the measure will make it to the House floor for a vote. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that Republicans will need “more conversations” before that can happen.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE (R-Wis.) voted for the No Budget, No Pay measure in 2013. But when asked by The Hill last week if he supported withholding lawmakers’ pay if they don’t pass a budget, Ryan said: "I support passing a budget. I’ll just leave it at that."

Democrats have suggested that the GOP is now being hypocritical after previously hyping the importance of passing a budget.

"You know, the Republicans ... when we were in power, were famous for saying 'no budget, no paycheck' and all," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said during a Capitol press conference last week. "[They] made a big fuss about that, and now they can't get a budget."