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Budgetology: Head Fake

Posted: March 23, 2013 at 12:10 pm   /   by

Budgetology: Head Fake

No budget, no pay … no problem? The Senate has done what we haven’t seen in the last four years – passed a budget. So the federal government has finally set spending restraints and defined the choices and aspirations America hopes to achieve?  Not so fast.  “No Budget, No Pay” required both the House and Senate to adopt a budget, but it didn’t require they actually sign it into law.  So despite accomplishing the bare minimum to earn their paycheck – nothing really changes until Congress reaches a deal.


“No Budget, No Pay” Requires Congress to Adopt a Budget. “The bill, known as the No Budget No Pay Act of 2013, directs both chambers of Congress to adopt a budget resolution for fiscal year 2014 by April 15, 2013. If either body fails to pass a budget, members of that body would have their paychecks put into an escrow account starting on April 16 until that body adopts a budget.” (John Parkinson, “House Passes ‘No Budget No Pay,’ Extends Debt Limit,” ABC News1/23/13)

However, Congress Doesn’t “Actually Have To Agree” On What They Pass

“No Teeth in ‘No Budget No Pay’ Law Means Business as Usual For Congress.” “Though House and Senate lawmakers both still have to pass a budget resolution framework, the two houses of Congress don’t actually have to agree on what they each pass. … For one thing, budget resolutions can pass purely on a majority vote, meaning that absent disorder in the ranks, Democrats and Republicans won’t have to hammer out a harmonious accord to pass their preferred budget frameworks.” (Karoun Demirjian, “No Teeth in ‘No Budget No Pay’ Law Means Business as Usual For Congress,” The Las Vegas Sun, 2/10/13)

And, Congress Would Still Get Paid No Matter What

Title of Legislation “Somewhat Misleading.” “Members of Congress will get paid — members earn $174,000 per year, or $348,000 per term — regardless of whether they pass a budget, they just might not get their paychecks right away.” (Walter Hickey, “The GOP’s ‘No Budget, No Pay’ Plan Is A Farce: Congress Will Get Paid No Matter How A Budget Standoff Ends,” Business Insider1/23/13)


House Passes Budget

House Passes Budget Plan on Mostly Party-Line Vote. “The House passed the Ryan plan, which tries to balance the budget in the long term by cutting spending, repealing Obamacare, and overhauling Medicare while avoiding any tax increases, Thursday morning on a mostly party-line vote.” (Ginger Gibson, “Senate Democrats Reject Ryan Budget,” POLITICO3/22/13)

House Passes GOP Budget Aimed at Eliminating Deficit. “On Thursday, the House passed, on a party-line vote of 221-207, a GOP budget that aims to eliminate the deficit in 10 years without raising taxes, and makes significant cuts in the growth of the Medicare health-care program for the elderly and other safety-net programs for low-income Americans.” (Janet Hook, “Tired of Fights, Congress Passes Funding Bill,” Wall Street Journal3/21/13)

Senate Expected To Pass Budget

Senate Democrats on Track to Pass Budget. “Democrats controlling the Senate appear on track to pass their first budget in four years, promising a second, almost $1 trillion round of tax increases on top of more than $600 billion in higher taxes on the wealthy enacted in January.” (Andrew Taylor, “Senate Democrats on Track to Pass Budget,” Associated Press3/22/13)

Senate Expected to Pass Budget For the First Time in Four Years. “Democrats in the Senate hope to see their budget approved by the end of the week. It would be the first budget passed by the Senate in four years.” (Pete Kasperowicz, “House Rejects Budget From Senate Democrats,” The Hill3/20/13)

Yet, Senate And House Won’t Pass Each Others Budgets

House and Senate Can’t Reconcile Budget Differences. “Late Thursday, the Senate rejected the Ryan plan, 40-59, just as the House had rejected the Senate plan on Wednesday, signaling the difficulty facing the two chambers in reconciling their differences.” (Jonathan Weisman, “House Passes Money Bill and Budget Blueprint,” New York Times3/21/13)

House Rejects Budget From Senate Democrats. “The House on Wednesday rejected the Senate Democratic budget in a 154-261 vote, with 35 Democrats voting against the blueprint from their upper chamber colleagues.” (Pete Kasperowicz, “House Rejects Budget From Senate Democrats,” The Hill3/20/13)

Lawmakers in Senate Defeat House Budget Plan. “Senate Democrats defeated Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget on their floor Thursday night, a vote the majority party forced to make a political point.” (Ginger Gibson, “Senate Democrats Reject Ryan Budget,” POLITICO3/22/13) is an educational project of Public Notice, an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit, 501(c)(4) organization dedicated to providing facts and insight on the effects public policy has on Americans’ financial well-being.

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Budgetology: Head Fake