June 9, 2012

Every family in Montana understands that you can’t run a household or a business without a budget. But that’s precisely how America too often runs its government.

In fact, Congress hasn’t passed a budget resolution and all of its required spending bills on time in 15 years. The upshot is a more wasteful and inefficient government. Late budgets lead to late spending bills, and when Congress fails to pass spending bills on time, it relies on temporary spending measures — including eight “continuing resolutions” this past fiscal year alone. This constant stop-and-go budgeting creates havoc for government agencies and the citizens who rely on them.

Delays in services

In recent years, late spending bills have resulted in delays in medical research grants, deliveries of critical supplies to our troops and hiring of key government personnel like air traffic controllers.

That’s why I’d like to commend Rep. Denny Rehberg for co-sponsoring the No Budget, No Pay Act — which would suspend congressional pay if annual budget and spending bills weren’t passed on time. In so doing, Rehberg is merely holding members of Congress to the same standards as his Montana constituents, who would never expect to be paid if we didn’t do our job. By failing to decide how much the government should take in and spend in a timely manner — Congress is most assuredly not doing its job.

The idea for No Budget, No Pay originated with No Labels, a group of over half a million Democrats, Republicans and independents dedicated to moving America toward a new politics of problem solving. No Budget, No Pay was one of 12 proposals in our Make Congress Work! action plan, which aims to end the gridlock and dysfunction that make it virtually impossible for Congress to deal with America’s serious problems.

Rehberg is one of 66 lawmakers to co-sponsor the No Budget, No Pay Act, but we need more supporters to help build support in Congress to actually pass this legislation.

Write to Congress

That’s why I’d like to ask my fellow Montanans to write, call or email Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester and tell them to support No Budget, No Pay. Tester’s support is particularly important because he is a member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which is ultimately responsible for putting No Budget, No Pay before the full Senate for a vote.

By supporting No Budget, No Pay, Rehberg is making members of Congress more accountable to the voters who put them there. I hope our senators follow his lead.

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