Jansing and Co | January 29, 2013
>>> americans fed up with the inability of congress to get a budget passed, take heart. the senate is expected to approve the no budget , no pay act this week as part of the debt ceiling bill. the legislation would require both the house and senate to set a budget by april 15th or members will not get paid. the house passed the measure with bipartisan support last week. i'm joined now by david walker , president of the come back america initiative and cofounder of the no labels movement, which originally proposed the no budget , no pay idea. good to see you. good morning.
>> good to be with you.
>> so you've pushed this no budget , no pay act since 2011 , and now that it could pass this week, explain what you hope to accomplish.
>> we hope to accomplish for the first time in four years, where the house, the senate , and the president will all have budgets on the table, which hopefully will facilitate a more honest and full discussion and debate about what do we need to do to put the finances of this country in order, because they're poor and deteriorating.
>> do you think that people are surprised to learn that that hasn't happened?
>> well, i think a lot of people are surprised to learn that there's only one thing in the constitution that the congress is supposed to do every year. and that is pass timely appropriations bills, guided by a budget . i'm 61 years old. they've only done it four times in 61 years. that's an f-minus. you need to provide the right incentives, transparency and accountability mechanisms and this is a step in the right direction, although the legislation we were seeking would do much more, and hopefully can be enacted later in the year.
>> as you know, there are people who question about whether this no pay is the right way to go. the senate is often referred to as a millionaire's club, but critics have argued the legislation puts senators who have more modest means, and there are some of them, at a disadvantage over wealthy lawmakers. in fact, maine senator susan collins says, "i don't know that it's really fair to members that do not have significant means and have no control whether a budget is brought to the floor or not." so my question is, does this legislation punish less well-to-do lawmakers, who in truth, have little or no influence over whether this actually gets done. it often rests with the leadership.
>> look, the fact is is that they decided to run for the senate or the house. the senate and the house need to do their job, just like every other american. if they don't do their job, they shouldn't get paid. and quite frankly , they ought to put pressure on their leadership to get a budget . look, it's unacceptable the kind of action that we're getting from congress. it's just absolutely out of control. this country has got serious problems that are not being taken seriously. and you know, yes, some don't have as much means, but then they should rethink about whether they want to be in office.
>> well, that's the question, i think, that's also being raised, will it discourage people who may not have those means from running, because they're afraid they may not get paid?
>> no, because the fact is, the mere threat of no budget , no pay caused the senate to have a budget for the first time in four years, and i can tell you with virtual certainty, they would not have had a budget but for this. so it had the right kind of impact. but quite frankly , we need a tougher bill. senator heller, senator manchin are sponsors a bill that would be tougher for the next congress so we don't face constitutional challenges.
>> david walker , good to have you on the program. thank you.
>> good to be with you.