House Republicans On Debt Ceiling Deal: ‘No Budget, No Pay’

Personally I’ve come to think of the Republican leadership in the House sort of like a dog. Their bark is far worse than their bite. They have now put forth a tough sounding debt ceiling deal with a simple principle, according to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), “no budget, no pay.”

Their demand is that Senate Democrats pass a budget in exchange for an increase to the debt ceiling of three months. Bad idea. Utterly bad idea.

In a statement issued by Boehner, he said, “Before there is any long-term debt limit increase, a budget should be passed that cuts spending. The Democratic-controlled Senate has failed to pass a budget for four years. That is a shameful run that needs to end, this year.” I hear barking.

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“We are going to pursue strategies that will obligate the Senate to finally join the House in confronting the government’s spending problem,” he continued. “The principle is simple: no budget, no pay. …” The barking is getting louder.

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“A long-term increase in the debt limit that is not preceded by meaningful and responsible reductions in government spending might avert a default, but it would also invite a downgrade of our nation’s credit that damages our economy, hurts families and small businesses, and destroys jobs.” The barking at this point seems to be softening.

However, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) also barked on the issue in a statement. Cantor said, “The first step to fixing this problem is to pass a budget that reduces spending. The House has done so, and will again. The Democratic Senate has not passed a budget in almost four years, which is unfair to hardworking taxpayers who expect more from their representatives. That ends this year.”

“Next week, we will authorize a three month temporary debt limit increase to give the Senate and House time to pass a budget,” he continued. “Furthermore, if the Senate or House fails to pass a budget in that time, Members of Congress will not be paid by the American people for failing to do their job. No budget, no pay.”

The tough talk, or loud barking in all of this is that if the Senate will not pass a budget, something they haven’t done in the past four years, which they are supposed to under Federal law, then House members will look to block the salary of members of both houses of Congress. Notice, that the threat didn’t include a balanced budget, just a budget that “cuts spending.” It doesn’t necessarily have to provide real cuts to spending, just projected cuts, which I’ve demonstrated before are not real spending cuts. The House has passed many budgets and they have done so over the passed four years, but has there been a balanced budget? No.

The Democrat controlled Senate though has failed not only to pass a budget, but has refused to pass most federal appropriations bills before the end of the federal fiscal year. This has been the reason why there have been numerous continuing resolutions that have been passed with the support of House Republicans. In the end, all this does is drive us further into debt and continue to manufacture multiple “crises.”

Understand, that when I reference the House Republican leadership as barking like dogs, I’ve heard this same rhetoric before. Do you recall it during the fiscal cliff talks? How did listening to that barking work out for us? Not too well. Everyone making over $40,000 will see their taxes increased this year because the bark was worse than the bite. Do I wish House Republicans would hold the Democrat controlled Senate to this? Of course. However, with their track record and the latest report from The Hill about their posturing, I’m not holding my breath.

How about the Republicans put forth an ultimatum to cut spending even if it means shutting down the government rather than the kinds of deals they put forward in which their bluff will most definitely be called? After all that is why they were elected, to lower taxes, cut spending and lower the debt. Calling for “spending cuts” which aren’t real cuts in order to raise the debt ceiling is counter productive.

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