Welcome back and thanks for tuning in to the 5th District Mailbox, where I respond to your correspondence through online video.
To start, I wanted to say thanks to everyone who has already offered their thoughts on this week's important topic -- The No Budget, No Pay Act -- which passed the House earlier today by a vote of 285-144.
So, why is this bill important?
To put things in perspective, for the past two years, both parties have discussed the growing threat of our national debt. To be fair, individuals in both parties have put forward solutions to reform mandatory spending programs, which make up the largest portion of the federal budget.
While President Obama has acknowledged the need to address the nation's debt crisis, he's not offered concrete reforms, nor has he encouraged his colleagues in the Senate to act with any sense of urgency.
Not to mention, the president's health care bill materially worsened our fiscal picture.
In the U.S. House, we've put forward concrete solutions to promote economic growth and get government spending under control, starting each year with passage of a budget resolution.
Unfortunately, Senate Democrats have failed to pass a budget -- the most basic responsibility of governing -- for almost four years. That irresponsible record must end.
A responsible budget that controls spending is critical to putting us back on a path to economic prosperity, so we can create opportunities for all Americans.
Without a budget, our nation's fiscal imbalance will continue, which is why we've pressed so hard for the senate to engage.
The No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013 directs the Members of both the House and Senate to pass a budget resolution by April 15, 2013. If either chamber does not, members of that chamber will not receive a paycheck.
I am confident that passage of this bill will push the Senate to act. But, we'll have to wait and see.
Some questions have arisen online over the bill's constitutionality. Let it be clear: While the 27th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits Congress from varying its own pay within a given Congress, it is silent on when members should be paid. H.R. 325 states that if a chamber does not pass a budget, a member's pay will be withheld and put in escrow until the budget is resolved.
America's looming debt crisis is driven by runaway deficit spending, changing demographics, and decades of laws enacted based on promises that our government simply cannot afford to keep. The longer we wait to reform spending, the more painful these adjustments will have to be, and the greater impact our growing debt will have on family budgets and the nation's economic security.
I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts on this issue, and also hearing any of your ideas online for forcing action in the Senate to address the nation's spending and debt crisis. Thanks again for tuning-in to the 5th District Mailbox.