House Policy Committee Chairman James Lankford (R-OK) had a conference call with bloggers this morning to discuss HR 325, the “No Budget, No Pay Act.” It’s a five page bill that basically suspends the debt ceiling for three months to give both chambers of Congress to pass budgets. If either chamber fails to pass a budget the pay of the members will be held in escrow until such time as a budget has passed. According to Lankford, this bill is a “baby step” towards getting “back into a regular order system.” Washington, DC is at a standstill, and the Democrats in the Senate have not passed a budget in almost four years.
Lankford doesn’t have a whip count, but the bill should be on the floor for a vote at about 12:45 or 1:00 PM ET, so we should find out soon enough if they have the votes to pass it. The White House has said they will not oppose it, so there may not be too much opposition.
When asked how House Republicans will feel if Chuck Schumer manages to pass a budget in the Senate as he promised, complete with increased spending and more tax hikes, Lankford said they would welcome any budget from the Senate because it would get things out in the open for debate.
As far as the sequestration that’s set to occur on March 1, Lankford said that the Republicans want to replace sequestration with equal or greater spending cuts in areas that are not related to defense and national security. He also noted that the Senate has failed to pass anything that would replace sequestration, which is an across the board cut of all discretionary spending.
So that’s where things stand. The Democrats have no plan to address the rising national debt, and House Republicans have to resort to these “baby steps” to get the Senate to do its job. How pathetic.