Congressman Anthony Brindisi is co-sponsoring his first bill since being sworn in Jan. 3.
The bill, called the No Budget No Pay Act, would keep Congress from being paid if they don’t pass budget and appropriations bills on time.
It also would prevent members of Congress from receiving retroactive pay if spending bills are passed after the deadline.
“It’s really a good government measure and a common sense piece of legislation that really says if members of Congress can’t do their jobs and pass a budget, they shouldn’t get paid,” Brindisi said. “Now more than ever, we need people in Washington to compromise and in the absence of them doing it on their own, we have to have mechanisms in place, like No Budget No Pay, that encourage members to compromise because at the end of the day, the taxpayers pay our salary and if we’re not doing our job we shouldn’t get paid.”
The legislation’s main sponsor is Jim Cooper, D-TN, but Brindisi said the bill is up to about nine co-sponsors.
He said preventing situations like the one the country is in right now is why this legislation is important. The government has been partially shut down for 19 days, and while most employees will not be receiving their paycheck, members of Congress are still being paid, which is why Brindisi and other co-sponsors want to end that.
“It should never have come to this,” he said. “While we have serious concerns and need healthy debate on a whole host of issues, like immigration and health care, I believe those debates should not be done in the context of a government shutdown.”
Good government and ethics reform were some of Brindisi’s campaign talking points, and he said this falls under that umbrella.
He said there were a number of members who campaigned on the same issue, and that is why he believes this is an important matter.
“A number of candidates like myself campaigned on good government and ethics reform and making government work for the people,” he said. “This bill is just one of the measures I plan to introduce to help make Washington more functional.”