The state of our nation today is in shambles.
Congress continues to ignore our most pressing issues, and the crux of these pain points mostly lies in our inability to produce sound fiscal policies and adequate budgeting practices.
While I might sound like a broken record, I continue to mention these issues because of their importance to rejuvenating the American economy and to reducing the financial pressures facing Americans.
Simply put, it’s immoral and downright deplorable to pass our country on to the next several generations in a condition worse than how we found it.
Unfortunately, members of Congress continue to promote excessive spending, without any regard for the effects this has on our national deficit and debt. Whether that be 40-year-high inflation rates, exorbitant oil and gas prices, or spiked tax rates, we cannot improve other facets of this country without lifting the burdens of our national debt.
When will we learn? It’s past time to make internal changes that will act as the foundation for landmark legislation for years to come.
We are at a turning point in U.S. history, where we can invest in tomorrow’s education, energy, trade, and commerce, but to do so, we must first focus on Congress’ inefficiencies. With that in mind, I have introduced legislation, the No Pay for Congressional Recklessness Act, which I think provides a necessary framework for reducing the use of continuing resolution spending bills.
Along with making decisions that will benefit the American people, members of Congress are responsible for upholding a level of personal integrity that represents constituents across America. Continuing resolutions were never meant to be an annual trigger law to utilize, and quite frankly, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have become reliant on continuing resolutions.
Historically speaking, continuing resolutions were designed to provide the benefit of extending government operations without the immediate consequences of a government shutdown, but most fail to realize there are other long-term consequences to that sort of decision-making. A continuing resolution is meant to act as a last-resort measure, because it oftentimes results in a lack of adjusted budgets or even add-on spending packages that are unwarranted and have no oversight.
Continuing resolutions compensate for Congress’ dereliction of duty and inability to perform one of its most critical annual tasks: appropriating the funds necessary to operate all 12 major federal spending bills that keep the country running. This marks the 26th consecutive year that members of Congress have failed to fund the government on time with all its necessary funding bills.
Additionally, this will be the fifth consecutive year in which not a single funding bill has been signed into law by the start of the fiscal year on Oct. 1. To top it all off, in the past 45 years under our current budgeting system, Congress has been able to pass all its appropriations bills on time only four times, with the last time occurring in 1997.
Clearly, this is only becoming worse, and Congress must be held accountable to its commitment to public service rather than to a career in politics. I am sick and tired of the lack of accountability in both parties, and I imagine that many of my colleagues are as well. The American people are demanding systemic change—at the very least—and that should be enough of an intrinsic motivator for us all.
I encourage members of Congress to consider supporting the No Pay for Congressional Recklessness Act and its potential to reshape how Congress conducts itself on the floor. The bill would withhold members’ pay while a continuing resolution was in effect for the duration of the 117th Congress, reduce members’ pay by 1% for each day a continuing resolution is in effect in subsequent years, and prohibit the use of member travel funds while a continuing resolution is in effect.
The idea is to reinforce the principle that a continuing resolution is not an acceptable solution, but an emergency fail-safe. It’s my hope that we, as members of Congress, will accept these guidelines to practice more timely appropriations budgeting.
That’s a small sacrifice in the grand scheme of things and will provide countless opportunities for everyday Americans who heavily rely on accurate budget reporting and operating efficiencies.
This measure calling for appropriations overhaul should have been enacted long ago, but let’s make this change now before we continue with the vicious cycle that Congress has been performing under for almost half a century.
The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.
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