Letter to the Editor

The Miami Herald

Accountability is a key element of leadership.

Shareholders, employees and customers expect business executives to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions or for their failure to act. Effective leaders understand this and act accordingly.

Why wouldn’t we hold our government leaders to this same standard?

For more than 1,000 days, Congress has failed to meet one of its most basic responsibilities — passing a concurrent budget resolution.

For 15 straight years, appropriations bills have been late. On Oct. 1, 2011, the government’s 2012 fiscal year began quietly without the spending bills necessary to fund the government. Despite this situation, there hasn’t been accountability in Congress for this failure to act.

It’s time to end rampant congressional dysfunction. We must incentivize responsibility and create and enforce consequences when accountability is lacking.

If Congress doesn’t pass a budget on time, members of Congress should not get paid until they do.

This basic concept is the foundation of the No Budget, No Pay Act introduced in the House and Senate in December.

The bill will go before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee mid-March.

The No Budget, No Pay Act is one of a dozen no-nonsense proposals by No Labels, the citizen-based movement of Republicans, Democrats and Independents who advocate for common sense ways to make Congress work.

It’s time for our elected leaders to signal to the public that they’re serious about cutting through gridlock and performing their duties.

Deciding how much money the government takes in and how much it spends is the most fundamental responsibility of Congress.

It establishes priorities for the coming year, sets a spending ceiling and provides federal agencies an opportunity to plan for effectiveness. And it provides a baseline to evaluate performance and is a critical measure of whether the federal government is functioning.

The short-term stopgap budgets Congress habitually adopts continue the spending patterns of the past year, with little or no change. This prevents strategic planning and contributes to runaway deficit spending.

People on the far left and far right represent just a fraction of the American public, but they exercise power well beyond their numbers for a simple reason: They get involved.

We simply can’t afford this. We elected these members to lead. We need to make sure they do.

Bobbie Ann Brinegar, executive director, OWL-The Voice of Midlife and Older Women, Washington, DC



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