Senate Follows in House’s Footsteps, Passes Bill Delaying Debt Ceiling Adjustment Until May
Thursday, the Senate passed a House bill, H.R. 325, to temporarily lift the federal debt limit until May, putting off what is expected to be another rancorous debate about the paying the nation’s bills. President Obama is expected to follow with his signature in the coming days.
The bill, also known as the “No Budget No Pay” bill, is intended to delay the drama of a debt limit fight so Congress may have the time to deal with looming sequestration cuts and develop a fiscal year 2014 budget. Under the No Budget No Pay provision, members of Congress are required pass a budget by April 15 or risk losing their paychecks. At least, that it how the provision is being spun.
In reality, members’ pay will be held in an escrow account until a budget is passed. If a budget is not passed by year’s end, members will simply resume their normal payment schedule January 1st, 2014. In other words, this is more of a gimmick than a real solution to managing our government responsibly.
“There are federal employees with families that have lived in a state of constant uncertainty for the past two years,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “Political theatre has done and will continue to do nothing to help these dedicated public servants. They show up to work every day and do their job like they promised. Congress should follow their example and pay the nation’s bills like they are supposed to. It is unacceptable for Congress to continue kicking the can down the road while federal families wait to learn if they have a job to come back to or not.”
The threats of both sequestration and the debt ceiling cannot be overstated. Both would have immeasurable impacts on an already resource-starved federal workforce. We are already seeing plans for mass furloughs of permanent employees and layoffs of non-permanent employees at DoD. Other agencies are planning similar strategies as you read this story.
The only way to force immediate action on this one-two policy punch is to take matters into our own hands. Call Congress (on your own time, using your own phone) and tell them federal workers demand solutions! You can reach your House Representative and Senators by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.