Editor, Why is the country in this continuing resolution/debt-limit mess?
There are five laws that form the basis for where we should be instead of where we’re actually at:
• Budget and Accounting Act of 1921
• Congressional Budget Act of 1974
• Balanced Budget and Emergency Control Act of 1985
• Budget Enforcement Act of 1990
• Balanced Budget Act of 1997
This is the way it’s supposed to work:
The president submits a budget between the first Monday in January and the first Monday in February. That didn’t happen.
The Congressional Budget Office publishes an analysis of the president’s budget in March. That didn’t happen.
House/Senate Budget Committees begin considering the president’s budget in February and March, and they each submit a resolution by April 1. That didn’t happen.
The House and Senate are expected to pass these by April 15. That didn’t happen.
Appropriations committees then put together an appropriations bill after May 15. That didn’t happen.
From May 15 through Sept. 30, what happened? (Since the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, this process has only worked six times.)
During the course of a year, there are about 240 work days, minus 10 federal holidays.
The House and Senate only convened for business 120 of those 240 days. Of those 120 days, if they worked on a Monday, votes were postponed until
6:30 p.m. (Folks need to get back in town). If they worked Friday, no votes were scheduled after 3 p.m. (Folks need to make those early flight connections).
For reference, go to majorityleader.gov/calendar/113thCongressFirstSession-Monthly.pdf.
Taxpayers are paying members of Congress $174,000 per year (that’s $174,000 times 535). In addition to those expenditures, staff salaries for each House member average about $1.2 million (that’s $1.2 million times 435), and Senate staff salaries average $3.3 million (that’s $3.3 million times 100).
For reference, go to www.legistorm.com/salaries.html.
Solution: If Congress can’t pass — and the president doesn’t sign — a budget by May 31 of each year, effective June 1 of that year, all pay for the president, members of the House, members of the Senate and their staffs (staffers do most of the work anyway) is terminated until an annual federal budget is signed by the president, and there is no back pay for lost wages.
That would guarantee an end to the continuing-resolution crisis, which is nothing but nonfeasance in order to gain the spotlight.
Just my two cents.
— Bruce A. McCartney
Trade Hill community