If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve probably heard us say the words “congressional compensation” a few dozen times now…or maybe a few hundred. But what does it actually mean? Here’s a mini history lesson on congressional pay. So sit back, grab your lunchbox and pretend you’re back in Mrs. Creighton’s fourth-grade class.

The Average Joe of Congress (there are 529 of them) gets paid $174,000 per year. But not everyone is average; the Speaker of the House gets $223,500 a year, while the majority and minority leaders of both the Senate and the House, along with the President Pro Tempore, get paid $193,400 per year. Not bad, huh?

Alright, now for some grim statistics…maybe you should sit down. The National Debt, as of the week of April 16, is $15,661,689,115,595.93. That’s 15.6 TRILLION, for those of you who tuned out after the first few numbers. Turn on the calculator app on your iPhone. If the US population is around 312,608,496, then how much would each citizen have to contribute to pay off this debt? Around $50,000. Eek.

So let’s put this all into a what-if, hypothetical situation. What if the No Budget, No Pay Act was already a law, and members of Congress didn’t get paid on time if they didn’t submit the budget and all appropriations bills on time? What if they didn’t submit the budget for a whole month? How about a whole year? How much would cancellation of their salaries reduce the federal deficit? Dust off your TI-83 and fast-forward to Mr. Smith’s grade-12 calculus class for this one. If congressional compensation was suspended for an entire year, $93,236,500 would be chopped off of the national debt. True, that’s only .0005953% of the deficit, but it would save each taxpayer around 30 cents annually. That’s one more gumball per year.

But obviously, it’s not about the gumballs. The American people have lost trust in Congress, and it’s time to restore confidence and bring common sense back to America’s budget process. No Budget, No Pay provides an incentive (around $174,000 of incentive) to get Congress back on track. Not left, not right, but forward.