Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio is sticking by his “no budget, no pay” proposal, despite some griping within his conference that the plan is no good, and he seems to be bringing much of the conference along with him.
In his first news conference of the 113th Congress, Boehner said most members could not forgo their pay and would be forced take up a budget if faced with the prospect of losing their monthly paychecks.
“Members of Congress, or some of us like me, you can’t go for months and months without a paycheck,” he said. “What this does is basically say that your pay gets escrowed, gets put on hold, until such time as you can pass a budget.”
After Boehner spoke, members of his leadership team all carefully repeated the talking points, particularly the “no budget, no pay” line that appeared in back of them with its own Twitter hashtag.
The comments came after a more than two-hour GOP Conference meeting.
The meeting went far beyond its scheduled end, with long lines of members waiting behind microphones to speak. But rather than expressing their concerns about the bill, many said they were pleased about the position of relative advantage the GOP is in, according to lawmakers in the room.
Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California even received a standing ovation for a kind of locker-room halftime speech that was described as “inspiring.”
“What they’ll say after that vote tomorrow: ‘This is the day of the comeback,’” McCarthy told GOP Members.
GOP leadership addressed one concern about the bill raised by Rep. Randy Neugebauer of Texas. The bill says the debt ceiling “shall not apply” until May 18. Neugebauer worried the Obama administration could take on a large amount of new debt during that period, obviating the need for an increase to the debt ceiling after it lapses.
Leadership officials said text in the bill prevents Obama from taking on debt beyond obligations incurred under appropriations laws. And House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin said there would be no market for the additional debt.
After the meeting, Neugebauer said he was planning to review the language again but was still undecided whether the issue would cause him to vote against the bill.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, speaks with reporters in the Capitol after a speech on the Senate floor that accused the CIA of searching computers set up for Congressional staff for their research of interrogation programs.