Letters to the Editor
The Portland Press Herald
A basic responsibility of Congress is to decide on a budget in a timely manner. Not an easy task, I'm sure.
It's made much more difficult when members of Congress on both sides would rather keep partisan politics in the forefront than put aside their differences and work together.
Many of our elected representatives, it seems, would rather fight like spoiled children than do the job they were elected to do: represent the interests of the people of this country.
All too often, many of us say there's nothing we can do, and when we have that attitude, we're absolutely right. With freedom and democracy come responsibility. Our responsibility as citizens is to be active participants in our form of government.
When our elected representatives aren't doing the job the way we feel they should be, it's our responsibility to demand that they do. If they still won't, then it's our responsibility to replace them with people who will.
I'm a congressional district leader for the group No Labels. We're campaigning to make Congress work and are trying to pass a bill, “No Budget, No Pay,” in the U.S. House (H.R. 3643) and in the U.S. Senate (S.1981). The hearing date is March 14.
Just as the bill implies, Congress would have a reasonable time frame to pass a comprehensive budget, or every day that they don't, they wouldn't get paid. It's that simple. Congress works for us, not for special interests, the superwealthy or big business.
I invite you to go to the www.nolabels.org/work page and review the bill. Contact your U.S. senators and U.S. representatives with your concerns. Please help us to get Congress to work.
Gerard N. Pare
If Congress doesn't do its job, it shouldn't get paid! Senate Bill 1981, the “No Budget-No Pay Act,” comes before the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on March 14. Sen. Susan Collins, the ranking minority member of this committee, will have an important part to play in the fate of this legislation designed to help Congress focus on its primary constitutional duty, passing appropriation bills. The appropriation bills should be passed and sent to the president by Oct. 1 of each year. It's been 1,000 days since Congress passed a budget resolution, 14 years since it passed government spending bills on time. This means that spending is not being properly evaluated to determine whether money is accomplishing what it is supposed to. Continuing resolutions are wasteful and irresponsible.
U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud is a co-sponsor of the House version of this bill, H.R. 3643, but no other Maine lawmakers have signed on as co-sponsors of the Senate or House version at this time. We should ask them to do so or explain why they don't support this. This is truly bipartisan legislation, introduced and sponsored by lawmakers from both parties who are tired of gridlock and want to do their job.