July 10, 2012

One of the most important priorities for any business is to create and follow a budget. Without knowing the expected expenses and profit, it would be increasingly difficult for a business owner to run a successful business that could provide a benefit to customers.

There is, however, one enormous institution that practices not operating with a budget: Congress. In the past 16 years, Congress has not once passed a joint budget resolution and its 12 annual spending bills on time. Not once. Instead, it has relied on “continuing resolutions” — temporary spending measures — based on the previous fiscal year.

Continuing resolutions discourage collaboration between the parties and delay prioritizing America’s interests. They allow the most pressing questions — “What are our nation’s top priorities?” and “How do we pay for them?” — to remain unanswered.

Congress’ failure to pass a budget is not a new trend. In fact, during the past 60 years, Congress has passed a budget and annual spending bills by its deadline only four times. Without a realistic and concrete plan for the future, it isn’t surprising that an overwhelming majority of the American public disapproves of the job Congress is currently doing.

Thankfully, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn is one of the newest cosponsors of the No Budget, No Pay Act (H.R. 3643), a bill that would withhold pay to members of Congress if they fail to pass a concurrent budget resolution and all 12 spending bills by Oct. 1, the start of the fiscal year.

The No Budget, No Pay bill is wildly popular among the American people, with 88 percent of the public supporting this problem solving initiative. Not only is it popular, it’s also gaining momentum in Congress. Rep. Blackburn joins over 75 fellow bipartisan co-sponsors of the bill.

No Budget, No Pay was initially proposed by No Labels, a reform-minded grass-roots organization composed of Democrats, Republicans and independents dedicated to the politics of problem solving. It is only one of 12 congressional reforms outlined in No Labels’ Make Congress Work! action plan, which also includes reform of the filibuster and the presidential nomination process.

Rep. Blackburn’s support for No Budget, No Pay is a big step forward toward restoring faith in our government again. I hope you will encourage Sen. Lamar Alexander to follow her lead by cosponsoring this bill.

Our leaders are starting to pay attention to this proposal: Its growing support in Congress is proof of that. It’s time that all of Congress comes aboard and backs this common-sense solution to a serious problem.

**** UPDATE****

Sen. Bob Corker is also a co-sponsor of the bill

Ronn Huff of Brentwood is a member of No Labels.

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