No-budget, no-pay plan just what taxpayers ordered
Given the lack of unity in Washington, D.C., these days, don't expect this idea to work. But we like it nonetheless.
Republicans offered a bone to President Obama Friday in saying they would allow a three-month reprieve to a "looming, market-rattling debt crisis," backing off demands that any immediate extension of the government's borrowing authority be accompanied by stiff spending cuts, as the Associated Press reported. But there is a caveat: a threat to cut off the pay of lawmakers in either the House or Senate if their chamber fails to pass a budget this year.
"We are going to pursue strategies that will obligate the Senate to finally join the House in confronting the government's spending problem," House Speaker John Boehner told Republican lawmakers at a retreat in Williamsburg, Va., Friday. "The principle is simple: No budget, no pay."
Is someone finally listening to the common man, because that sounds a lot like the suggestions heard on Main Street, U.S.A.
The last time the Senate passed a budget was April 29, 2009. Meanwhile, officials in municipal and county governments in these parts work diligently to pass balanced budgets by their Dec. 31 deadline. It requires a lot of planning, hard work and difficult, unpopular decisions. Already, school boards are hashing out their fiscal year budgets, due by June 30, with the same conviction, and never with the notion that they won't get done. The same can be said for the state government, which also is required by constitution to have a balanced budget in place by June 30. Pennsylvania has improved its dismal track record - under Gov. Ed Rendell, a budget wasn't passed on time in eight years - with two straight on-time budgets under Gov. Tom Corbett.
Countries worldwide that still look to the U.S. as a democratic guide are no doubt perplexed that Congress so carelessly disregards its obligation to pass a budget. While threatening to withhold pay to an entity where the majority of members are millionaires is unlikely to spell success, at least the average American will understand, for once, what is at stake.