This bill surrenders the hostage Republicans have taken in the past by decoupling the full faith and credit of the United States from cuts to Social Security and Medicare, or anything else, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said of the House vote. In substance, this is a clean debt limit increase that will set the precedent for future debt ceiling extensions.
Under the House bill, lawmakers agree to suspend the debt limit until mid-May without dollar-for-dollar spending cuts, something that tea party groups, some conservatives and other fiscal hawks were demanding.
The concession by Republicans had a price: In return for the suspension, the House and Senate must pass a budget by April 15, or members will have their pay withheld in an escrow account.
The principle, I think, is pretty simple no budget, no pay, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said after the vote. American families have to do a budget. They understand you cant continue to spend money that they dont have.
Some lawmakers wondered whether the provision would actually have an impact on House and Senate members. Most members of Congress earn $174,000 a year. The average wealth of a senator was $13.9 million in 2011 and the average wealth of a House member was $6.5 million in the same year, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Were going to get paid. It will be delayed, but were going to get paid, Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pa., said during debate on the bill. No Budget, No Pay has no teeth.
But Rep. Jim Cooper, a Tennessee Democrat who voted for the bill and once authored a more stringent measure, thinks otherwise.
The folks who have money love money more than anyone else and will want to be paid, Cooper said.