Thank you for contacting me regarding S.1981, the No Budget, No Pay Act. I appreciate your thoughts and am grateful for the opportunity to respond.
S.1981 was introduced on December 13, 2011, by Senator Dean Heller (R-NV). With this legislation, if the congressional budget and appropriations bills are not passed by October 1 st of each year, members of Congress would not receive their salaries until appropriations are completed. Additionally, the legislation prohibits members of Congress from receiving their pay retroactively once the appropriations bills are passed . S.1981 is currently pending in the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
There is no doubt that we have a budgeting and spending problem in Washington . President Obama's Democratic Majority in the Senate has failed to pass a budget in more than 1,000 days and Democratic Leader Harry Reid has announced that the president's budget proposal for fiscal year 2013 will not even be considered on the floor of the Senate.
While I believe that S.1981 is a good idea, I believe a better idea is to convert to a biennial budget system, and that is why I introduced S.211, Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act. This bipartisan legislation would convert the federal budget process from an annual, chaotic rush, to a two-year, more thoughtful process that requires Congress to conduct oversight. The Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act dedicates the first year of a Congress to appropriating federal dollars and devotes the second year to scrutinizing federal programs to determine whether they are working and deserve continued funding.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a Senate hearing on February 7, 2012 that uncertainty is a "negative for growth," and I have heard from small businesses in Georgia that uncertainty in the federal budget process is making it very difficult for them to operate their businesses. To that end, biennial budgeting would provide much-needed stability and certainty for American business and the economy, and I will continue to push for this much-needed budgeting reform in the Senate.
United States Senator
"If history is violence and sex, I'd rather not pay my respects. If I've caused offense, I'm just trying to talk sense. Forgive me if I'm too direct or politically incorrect." Jon Foreman