House Passes Temporary Debt Ceiling Relief with “No Budget, No Pay” Provision
Wednesday the House voted to temporarily lift the federal debt limit until May, putting off a major political showdown between the two parties. One key provision of measure – known as “No Budget, No Pay” – would temporarily cease payments to members of Congress if a budget is not passed by April 15th.
The bill, H.R. 325, is intended to put aside the debt-ceiling brinksmanship for a few months in order to make room for debate over looming sequestration cuts and the fiscal year 2014 budget. If action on sequestration is not taken by March 1st, the $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts will be implemented across government, universally slashing agency budgets by 6%-10% (with some exception for the Department of Veterans Affairs and active duty troops).
The “No Budget, No Pay” provision would target lawmakers pay unless they meet the April 15th budget deadline. This does not, however, mean that they will not be paid for any time after. Instead, their paychecks will be placed into an escrow account, only to be released back to them once a budget is passed. If no budget is passed by January 1, 2015, members’ salaries would resume as normal. Though the measure lacks teeth, it may nonetheless pressure lawmakers to focus on getting work done, rather than bickering over political minutiae.
The measure is expected to be passed in the Senate next week and approved by the White House shortly after.