House Raises Debt Ceiling, Passes "No Budet, No Pay" Measure
WASHINGTON, DC (WENY) -- No budget, no pay." That's what House Republicans dubbed their bill to temporarily increase the debt ceiling. It passed with bipartisan support today.
The final vote came out 285-144 with Southern Tier Congressman Tom Reed and Northern Tier Congressmen Glenn Thompson and Tom Marino all voting in favor of it.
With the country's debt limit set to expire, House leaders had to make a decision - raise the debt ceiling or risk defaulting on loans and possibly another downgrade in the country's credit rating.
"We're between the devil and the deep blue sea on here…."I'm holding my nose and biting my tongue, and voting to increase the debt ceiling," said Rep. Marino (PA 10th).
A temporary extension - until May. But, there's one big BUT.
"We're saying, we'll extend this. But in return, you folks in the Senate are going to either vote for our budget or come up with your own," Rep. Marino said.
And there's more - Republicans say if no budget is passed, no one in Congress should get paid. According to the House Republican Leader's office, the Senate hasn't passed a budget in 1,365 days - something Marino says is the primary responsibility of Congress.
"Not many people in this country make $174,500 a year. For making that kind of money, we better step up to the plate and do what has to be done," he explained.
House Republicans came up with the "no budget, no pay" plan at their annual conference in Virginia last week. House Democratic leaders call the GOP's plan a "short-term gimmick."
"How else are we going to force the Senate to do its job?" Marino replied.
The "no budget, no pay" bill is expected to pass the Senate, and the White House says it will not block it. Meanwhile, Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray today promised a, quote, "pro-growth, pro-middle-class" budget this year.
Besides the debt limit, the country still faces two big fiscal deadlines - the sequester and the continuing resolution, which, if allowed to expire, could cause a partial government shutdown.