01.11.17

Daines Introduces First Bill in 115th Congress: The Balanced Budget Accountability Act

U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senator Steve Daines today introduced his first piece of U.S. Senate legislation in the 115th Congress: the Balanced Budget Accountability Act requiring that Congress passes a balanced budget – or members won’t get paid. 

The Balanced Budget Accountability Act strengthens accountability in Washington and encourages members of Congress to commit to the annual budget process as required by law and pass budgets that balance within ten years.

If a balanced budget is not passed by April 15—the legal requirement for Congress to have passed a budget—members will see their pay terminated. 

“The Balanced Budget Accountability Act reflects Montana values: commonsense practices that promises made are promises kept,” Daines stated. “Elected officials need to be accountable to the folks they serve and that starts with getting our fiscal house in order. Montana families balance their budgets, it’s unreasonable that Congress can’t do the same.” 

This bill is comparable to first piece of legislation Daines introduced in the 114th Congress and the 113th Congress, while Daines was serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition to implementing a “no balanced budget, no pay” principle, the Balanced Budget Accountability Act also establishes additional spending requirements and restrictions on tax increases. 

The Balanced Budget Accountability Act is also co-sponsored by U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA). 

BACKGROUND ON THE BALANCED BUDGET ACCOUNTABILITY ACT

  • The bill cuts off member salaries after April 15 unless their respective chamber has passed a budget that balances within ten years (by Fiscal Year 2027).
  • Member pay would be suspended until their chamber passes a budget that meets the balanced budget requirement, or until the end of the Congress.
  •  The bill would prohibit tax increases unless three-fifths of each chamber vote in favor of them.
  • The measure prohibits spending as a percent of GDP from exceeding 18 percent by FY 2028.
  • The bill locks into place the last permissible year to achieve balance (FY 2027) such that subsequent budgets would need to likewise achieve balance by that year. In other words, it bars a rolling ten years-to-balance metric.
  • Pursuant to the 27th Amendment, the bill holds members’ salaries in escrow until the end of the current Congress if their respective chamber does not meet the balanced budget requirement.
  • The bill would ensure that starting in 2018, members would receive only $1 per month after April 15, if their respective chamber doesn’t meet the requirement. 

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