No farm bill, no pay?
By Sara Wyant
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2013 - House Republicans advanced their “No Budget, No Pay” bill, that would withhold salaries from members of Congress if either chamber fails to approve a budget by April 15.
But when it comes to linking “pay” to “performance,” Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, suggests that lawmakers should include a few other pieces of legislation, like the farm bill.
“Why just the budget? Why not link members pay to passing a farm bill that will save $20 billion,” he told reporters during a conference call Thursday.
The U.S. Senate passed a new farm bill in June 2012 by a 64-35 margin, but the House did not consider legislation approved by the House Agriculture Committee.
The “No Budget, No Pay” bill, H.R. 325, passed with a 285-114 majority on Wednesday and the U.S. Senate is expected to approve a similar measure. The House version of the bill received the support of 199 House Republican lawmakers and 86 Democratic lawmakers.
“The principal I think is pretty simple: no budget, no pay,” explained House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, during a press conference after the vote. “American families have to do a budget. They understand you can't continue to spend money that you don't have. We're committed to doing a budget on the House side - a budget that will balance over the next 10 years. It's time for the Senate and the president to show the American people how they're willing to balance the budget over the next 10 years.”
Send. Brown, who said he is “fine” with the bill linking passage of a new budget to pay, also called on Congress to take other actions that he said would create new jobs.
"I'd like to say that members over there shouldn't get paid until they actually move on our China currency bill, which would create potentially hundreds of thousands of jobs by leveling the playing field with China," he said.
Brown also called on both chambers to schedule a vote on his bill to cap the age at which members of Congress can collect their own pensions to the age when working Americans can.
“If people here think they want to raise the Social Security eligibility age to 70, nobody here should be able to begin to get a pension until they are 70,” Brown said. “I would like to link those to congressional action."
Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and other Senate Republicans, joined by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va, introduced their own version of No Budget, No Pay legislation this week.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) announced this week that Democrats will move a budget for the first time in four years.
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