Is 'Budget or Bust' Bill Dead in the Water?

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WASHINGTON -- Nearly three years have passed since the U.S. Senate passed a budget, even though Congress is required to do so by law.

The situation has many Republicans, particularly Tea Party lawmakers, hot under the collar.

"One thousand days is just pathetic," Rep. Francisco Canseco, R-Texas, charged. "We have to have a budget."

Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., an outspoken critic of the Obama administration, is proposing legislation he believes will prevent this from happening again.

Broun's "Budget or Bust Act" would freeze the paychecks of all lawmakers until they pass a budget.

"If this was in the law today, do you think the Senate would've gone over a thousand days without getting a salary? I think not," he told CBN News.

The bill would also cut the president from the budget process altogether.

"In 1921, Congress passed a budget act that abdicated its duties over the president and said that Congress was going to approve the president's budget," Broun said. "Well that's not what our founding fathers meant."

While holding lawmakers' paychecks hostage may gain popular support, some budget experts are doubtful the idea will gain traction in Congress.

"If you leave the president out of the budget process, which sets all the standards for the appropriations bill, and then you come down to the end and he vetoes your bill and you can't override it, you're dead in the water," Bill Frenzel, a guest scholar of economic studies at the Brookings Institution, told CBN News.

Frenzel also believes Broun's paycheck proposal could discourage some people from running for office.

"If you're obliged to run for Congress only if you're wealthy enough to afford to pass up a few paychecks, I think that would be a bad thing for the system," Frenzel said.

Even if the bill did pass, which is unlikely in an election year, the president would almost certainly veto it. But at the very least it could keep the Senate's failure to pass a budget in the spotlight.

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John Jessup and Crystal Woodall

John Jessup and Crystal Woodall

CBN News

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