The days of last minute debt deals are over--until May, anyway, when Congress will get the chance to wait until the eleventh hour to avert a fiscal crisis again.
With bipartisan support (the vote was 285-144), the House passed the No Budget No Pay Act of 2013, suspending temporarily the statutory debt limit and adopting a resolution previously supported by NoLabels.Org that if either Congressional chamber fails to pass a budget for the 2014 fiscal year, pay be withheld until the budget is adopted.
The initiative is meant to pressure Congress to adhere to the Budget Act, which requires each branch of the legislature to pass a budget for each fiscal year. In practice, this hasn't happened, as exemplified by the fact that the Senate hasn't passed a budget in nearly four years.
Toting the Republican agenda for debt downsizing and budgeting, Speaker of the House John Boehner said that No Budget No Pay functions on the premise that if you don't do your job, you shouldn't get paid for it--and that now is the time to look at where our country is spending our money.
"We're not going to raise taxes on the American people. Nobody on our side is interested in raising taxes on the American people," he said, "It's time to deal with the serious problem that we have, which is spending."
Of course, our legislators will still get paid eventually even if they fail to pass their budget plans. They can thank the 27th Amendment for that.
When the bill reaches the Senate, Majority Leader Reid has expressed that it is also expected to pass.