Additionally, one of the points of the legislation is to ensure that all Senators and House Members have “skin in the game” when it comes to the budget and appropriations bills being done on time. All Members should take an interest in this most fundamental role of Congress. “No budget, no pay” would incentivize more Members to get engaged to make the entire budget and appropriations process work again.
For years, many of us have decried that Congress did not carry out its No. 1 responsibility: to pass a budget and complete appropriations by Oct. 1, the beginning of the federal fiscal year. As a matter of fact, in 2009, I asked the Government Accountability Office to do a study on the negative effect of continuing resolutions. In the past 30 years, all but three fiscal years have seen CRs enacted at some point. I encourage Ornstein and everyone else to read the report.
As one of the findings from the GAO report suggests, “Agencies have experienced managing problems within the funding constraints and uncertainty of CRs and use methods within their available authorities. However, there is no easy way to avoid or completely mitigate the effects of CRs on agency operations.”
To name one specific example out of many: In the past, the problems created by CRs led the Veterans Health Administration to delay hundreds of millions of dollars in repairs to veterans hospitals.
It’s time to face the facts. There is no question that CRs contribute to waste, fraud and abuse and mismanagement of the federal government, and as a longtime Senate debt hawk, I believe our failure to pass a budget and appropriations bills has led to the fiscal crisis we are now experiencing. To change the outcomes, we need to change the incentives. That’s why I strongly support No Labels and the “no budget, no pay” proposal. I encourage Norman Ornstein to do the same.
Republican George Voinovich served two terms in the Senate and two terms as governor of Ohio.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.