MY TURN: CAN’T PASS BUDGET? DON’T GET PAID

You wouldn’t buy a new car without knowing how much you had in your savings account. But this is precisely how Congress often funds our $3.6 trillion federal government.

Congress hasn’t passed a joint budget resolution and the subsequent annual appropriations bills on time once since 1996.

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.

This constant stop-and-go budgeting creates havoc for government agencies and the citizens who rely on them. 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, such as air-traffic controllers.

Congress is essentially spending our money first and asking questions later.

Fortunately, U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake is determined to do something about this disastrous state of affairs. He has become the 68th member of Congress to support the No Budget, No Pay Act (House Resolution 3643), which would withhold pay for members of Congress if they fail to pass a concurrent budget resolution and all annual spending bills on time.

Flake is simply holding members of Congress to the same standard as the American people, who don’t expect to get paid for not doing their jobs.

Not only is No Budget, No Pay good policy, but it is also wildly popular, supported by 88 percent of Americans in a recent independent poll.

No Budget, No Pay was initially proposed by the reform group No Labels, which is a group of Democrats, Republicans and independents dedicated to moving America toward a new politics of problem-solving.

No Budget, No Pay is just one of a dozen common-sense proposals in our Make Congress Work! action plan, including reform of the filibuster and the broken presidential nominations process.

I know most people in Arizona’s 6th Congressional District are infuriated with the performance of Congress. They should be. But every so often, our representatives do the right thing, and Flake should be commended for his support of No Budget, No Pay.

I hope my fellow citizens will thank Flake and work to recruit other members of Arizona’s congressional delegation to support No Budget, No Pay, as well.

William Johns of Mesa is a No Labels citizen leader.

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/SEVLetters/165665

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