Public demanding action? Check.
Bill written? Check.
Catchy slogan? Check.
Is this Constitutional? ...whoops.
It has been over 1,300 days since the Senate passed a budget. The last time the Senate Democrats passed a budget was April 29, 2009. Back then, the iPad didn’t exist, nobody knew who Snooki was, and YAL had only been around for a few months. Public unrest over this failure has consistently grown since then, and multiple Members of Congress, including Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. Steve King (R-IA), advocate for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.
At the end of January, House Republicans decided to challenge the no-action Senate by pushing H.R. 325, “to ensure the complete and timely payment of the obligations of the United States Government until May 19, 2013, and for other purposes.” Introduced by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), this bill "solves" the debt ceiling debate by raising the debt limit until May 19 of this year. Additionally, there was an addendum that dictated until the Senate passed a budget, they would not receive payment for their work. This is more commonly referred to as “No Budget, No Pay.”
In theory, this sounds great. The average American doesn't get paid if he or she doesn't complete his or her work, so surely we can hold Congress to the same standards. There is one minuscule difference, however. The average American's pay is not dictated by the U.S. Constitution. The 27th Amendment states:
"No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened."
Pretty clear, right? You can change pay for Congress, but it won't take effect for two years. No Budget, No Pay changes the payment schedule of Senators, and thus could not take effect until 2015.