The U.S. Congress is headed in the right direction in dealing with the ballooning federal deficit, underscored by U.S. House passage this week of the “no budget, no pay” bill.
That’s what U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, who voted for the measure, thinks.
“That is a step in the right direction because for the first time it holds (lawmakers) accountable,” the Republican lawmaker from the Elkhart area said Thursday.
The measure, H.R. 325, passed the House by a 285-144 margin on Wednesday and it now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration. Aside from halting salary payments for U.S. Senate and House members, at least temporarily, if they don’t pass a budget by April 15, it suspends the U.S. debt ceiling, at least through May 18.
The U.S. Senate was expected to pass the bill, perhaps today, Jan. 25, The Associated Press reported.
Broadly, the aim of H.R. 325 is to force lawmakers to craft a spending plan that trims the federal deficit. Facing the specter of no pay, they’ll be doubly inspired to action, the reasoning goes.
Walorski, speaking in a phone interview while traveling in her car in St. Joseph County, described it as directed at the U.S. Senate, which hasn’t crafted a budget in four years. She also lauded the bipartisan support H.R. 325 received, characterizing the backing as an indication of a new cooperative spirit in Congress.
“I think for the American people, what they saw (Wednesday), was that Congress can come together in a bipartistan way. We are serious about cutting spending and living within our means and we’re seeing both sides across the aisle work together,” she said. “I think it’s been a step-in-the-right-direction week.”
Of the 285 H.R. 325 backers, 199 were Republicans and 86 were Democrats, McClatchy Newspapers reported. The foes included 111 Democrats and 33 Republicans.
Aside from prodding lawmakers into crafting a balanced budget, at least theoretically, the measure prevents market jitters, for now, by temporarily defusing debate over the debt-ceiling issue. Some Republicans have expressed hesitancy about raising the debt-ceiling to keep it in line with the growing U.S. deficit, which has prompted concerns about a U.S. debt default, negatively impacting the U.S. economy.
H.R. 325 suspends that debate, temporarily, by lifing the debt-ceiling restriction.