House Republicans posted legislation to implement their #nobudgetnopay debt limit strategy today on the House Rules Committee website, setting up a Wednesday vote to authorize government borrowing to keep the federal government running through May 18th.
The proposed bill does not raise the debt limit by a set amount. Instead, it temporarily suspends application of the debt limit from enactment of the legislation through May 18th. And to prevent Treasury Tim Geithner from borrowing $4 trillion while the debt limit is suspended, the House also included a provision only guaranteeing as much new debt as is needed to keep the government running through May 19th.
Section 2 of the still unnamed and unnumbered debt limit legislation executes the House Republican #nobudgetnopay by holding all congressional salaries in escrow starting April 16th until each House of Congress passes a budget pursuant to the Budget Control Act of 1974. Both Chambers need not agree on a single budget and each House of Congress gets paid as soon as they pass a budget. So if the House passed a budget on April 15th, but the Senate did not, the House would get paid April 16th, but the Senate would not get paid till they passed a budget.
Some Democrats have argued that the House Republican #nobudgetnopay is unconstitutional since the 27th Amendment reads, “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.”
But Republicans argue that since congressional pay will be put in escrow, not cut or eliminated, that the law is constitutional. Besides, which Democratic Senator who refuses to pass a budget would want to be the named plaintiff demanding his or her salary in court?