APPLETON — Eager to avoid another political showdown and a first ever government default, the House Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to lift the cap on the debt ceiling until May.
While the bill would allow the government to spend what it needed to spend, it also contains an incentive for Congress. A provision in the measure would withhold paying Representatives if a budget isn't passed by the House by April 15th. The provision is the same for members of the Senate.
"Until we really start grappling in a serious fashion with what we need to do to start reducing our deficit so we can stabilize that debt, we continue to run the risk of a debt crisis," said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin.
Johnson and other Wisconsin Republican Legislators including Representative Reid Ribble say that process could take 10 years, but must begin now.
"This is one of the first reforms, getting a budget done and doing it without this big hassle of not taking it to the brink. We're passing it well ahead of when the Treasury would run out of money," said Ribble, R-8th District.
Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin also serves on the Budget Committee with Senator Ron Johnson. She says the bill will give Congress time to work together on a long-term solution.
In a statement she said:
"This is a small step in the right direction by House Republicans. I now look forward to working across party lines on the Budget committee to advance a balanced and responsible pro-growth, pro-middle class budget that pays down our debt without short-changing our future."
To hold Congress accountable, the House bill would withhold pay for lawmakers if a budget is not passed by April 15th. Rep. Ribble has been an outspoken supporter of what's called no budget, no pay.
"For the first time the Congress of the United States is going to hold itself accountable by saying if we don't do our work, we're not going to receive our pay."
A promise many hope Congress will keep.
Like the lifting of the debt ceiling, the no budget, no pay provision is also temporary. Ribble is co-sponsoring a permanent no budget, no pay bill.
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