AN OPEN LETTER TO THE LEADERSHIP OF THE U.S. CONGRESS
February 10, 2012
The Honorable John Boehner The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker Minority Leader
United States House of Representatives United States House of Representatives
The Honorable Harry Reid The Honorary Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader Minority Leader
United States Senate United States Senate
Dear Speaker Boehner, Leader Pelosi, Leader Reid and Leader McConnell:
It is with great respect that we write to you today.
As public servants, you are keenly aware that your constituents count on you to represent them well
in Washington. We know that you work hard to serve them and deliver results to the best of your
abilities. And as the leaders of both chambers, we know that you strive to lead by example.
Unfortunately, millions of Americans across the country have watched as Congress has failed to
deliver on one of its most fundamental responsibilities-- passing a budget and the spending bills
necessary to fund and run the government on time. As you are well aware, it has been more than
1,000 days since Congress last passed a concurrent budget resolution, and over 15 years since it
passed all appropriations bills on time.
Every day, Americans work hard to meet deadlines in order earn their paychecks. Yet you receive
your paychecks regardless of whether or not you do your jobs, let alone by the deadlines set forth by
the law. We believe you should follow the example set by the millions of citizens you represent.
Americans work hard for their paychecks, and so should Congress. If you don’t do your job on time,
you shouldn’t get paid for the period you are late.
This is the basic concept behind the bipartisan No Budget, No Pay Act, which is sponsored by Rep.
Jim Cooper (D-TN) in the House and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) in the Senate. The bill will receive a
hearing in March from the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
No Budget, No Pay holds members of Congress accountable for doing their job on time. If you are
unable to pass a budget and spending plan by Oct. 1, you will not be paid until all spending bills are
completed and sent to the President. There will be no retroactive pay.
No Budget No Pay is one of twelve proposals in the No Labels Make Congress Work! action plan,
which features a dozen common sense solutions to fix the outdated rules, procedures and traditions
that have turned Congress into a broken institution.
It’s time for our elected leaders to signal to the public that Congress can break through gridlock and
hold itself accountable to its constituents. If Congress does not pass a budget on time, one of its
most basic duties, members of Congress won’t be paid until they do so.
The lack of a binding budget has had clear consequences. Reliance on temporary spending bills
breeds inefficiency and hurts agencies’ ability to effectively plan for the future. We are gambling
with our children’s futures by not putting our nation’s finances in order.
No Budget, No Pay isn’t a Democratic idea or a Republican idea. It’s a common sense solution that
88 percent of Americans support. With congressional approval at an all-time low, it’s time to restore
faith in the institution.
It is easy to blame the other party or the other chamber to inaction on the budget. But where has that
gotten us? It’s time for you, as leaders of Congress, to truly lead on this issue.
We hope you will consider leading by example and supporting the No Budget, No Pay Act.
Bill Galston and David Walker
No Labels Co-Founders