No Budget, No Pay FAQ

What is No Budget, No Pay?

No Budget, No Pay suspends member pay if Congress fails to pass annual budget and spending bills on time.

Why is No Budget, No Pay needed?

The bill will help advance two goals that should be a priority of every member of Congress.

No Budget, No Pay will actually make government work better: It encourages members of Congress to come to the negotiating table and stay there until they reach an agreement on the budget and spending bills. Most members of Congress are just as frustrated by congressional gridlock as the American people. Members arrive at the U.S. Capitol with dreams of doing, not dysfunction. No Budget, No Pay creates additional incentive for Congress to do its job.

No Budget, No Pay will begin to restore Americans’ trust in Congress: At this moment of intense anger and cynicism, the American people want more than promises. We want action. We want a signal that Congress understands our frustration, and that they are taking concrete steps to address it. Passing this bill is an opportunity for Congress to tell the American people that they won’t earn their salaries until they earn back our trust.

What is the history of No Budget, No Pay?

The idea for No Budget, No Pay bills was first introduced by No Labels in its Make Congress Work! reform package in December 2011.

No Budget, No Pay legislation was soon introduced by Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) and Representative Jim Cooper (D-TN) in the 112th Congress, with over 90 co-sponsors for the respective bills (S.1981 and H.R. 3643).

In early 2013, House Speaker John Boehner adopted a modified version of No Budget, No Pay in his debt-ceiling extension bill, which passed in the House and Senate and was signed into law by President Obama. However, this modified No Budget, No Pay did not require permanent forfeiture of congressional pay for failure to pass a budget (it would only hold member pay in escrow) and did not apply to passage of late spending bills as well.

No Labels continues to advocate for the original, stronger version of No Budget, No Pay that was introduced in the 112th Congress by Sen. Heller and Rep. Cooper.

Is No Budget, No Pay Constitutional?

Yes. There are two sections in the Constitution that pertain to this issue. Article 1, Section 6 requires congressional pay to be “ascertained by law.” The 27th amendment requires that a law changing congressional pay can’t go into effect until a new Congress convenes. The No Labels No Budget, No Pay proposal is fully consistent with both these constitutional provisions.

Aren’t members of Congress already wealthy?

Plenty of members of Congress need their salary to pay living expenses, just like everyone else in America does. If congressional pay stopped, even those members who don’t particularly need their salaries would face plenty of pressure from their colleagues who do, and from a public that’s being reminded every single day that Congress isn’t getting paid because it’s not doing its job.

What are the bill numbers in the House and Senate?

The bill numbers for the 113th Congress are H.R. 310 and S. 124.The bill numbers for the 114th Congress are H.R. 187 and S. 39.

What is the status of the bills in the House and Senate?

The bill has been introduced in the House and Senate.