Rep. Justin Amash, a libertarian-leaning Republican from Michigan, sharply criticized a “misguided and unconstitutional” bill known as the No Budget No Pay Act of 2013.
The legislation was touted by Republicans, who blasted Democrats for failing to passed a budget resolution since 2009. The No Budget No Pay Act withholds pay from members of the House and Senate if they fail to pass a budget resolution in their respective chamber.
“Contrary to popular assertions, the ‘No Budget, No Pay’ provision doesn’t encourage Members of Congress to ‘do their job,’ it encourages them to vote yes on a particular bill or resolution — in this case a particular budget — even if that legislation is bad for the American people,” Amash said Tuesday in a statement explaining his vote against the bill.
Amash added that the bill violated the 27th Amendment, which prevents salary changes for members of Congress from taking effect until after an election.
“An important policy behind the 27th Amendment is limiting the power of congressional leadership (and the President) to bribe or blackmail Members of Congress to vote a particular way,” he noted.
The congressman said that, despite its name, the bill didn’t require Congress to pass a budget. The House and Senate could both approve their own budget resolutions independently of one another and still receive their paycheck.
The No Budget No Pay Act passed in the House last week with bipartisan support. The bill also suspends the debt ceiling until May 18, which Amash said was “essentially… a massive debt ceiling increase now.”
Amash frequently defied Republican leadership in the House, which resulted in him being ousted from his prominent spot on the House Budget Committee in December.
Eric W. Dolan
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