The Seattle Times editorial board, which loves to rail against budget "gimmicks" that stave off deeper cuts to social services, has finally found a gimmick they like:
Last week, the House adopted a plan to increase the debt limit for three months. HR 325 also requires both chambers to set a budget by April 15 or its members will not get paid.
The measure had bipartisan support — 43 percent of Democrats voted for it, including all three new Democratic members of Washington’s congressional delegation, Suzan DelBene, Derek Kilmer and Denny Heck. Also voting yes were Washington’s GOP Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Doc Hastings and Dave Reichert.
Sure, the “no budget, no pay” provision is a gimmick.
But what else can be done?
First, heretical as it may sound, I'd just like to point out that the federal budget is a completely bullshit document. Many appropriations are made off-budget, including much of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and emergency appropriations for disasters like hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. The federal budget is a guide at best—what truly matters are the individual appropriations bill, and they violate the budget all the time. Hell, Congress didn't even start passing budgets until 1921, and had no formal process for writing them until 1974. So yeah, compared to tax bills, appropriations bills, and debt ceilings, there's nothing all that meaningful about the budget.
With that out of the way... um... what exactly is all that useful about a gimmick that only impacts the few remaining middle-class members of Congress? Do you really think multimillionaires like Suzan DelBene and Denny Heck could give a shit about whether they get paid? Dave Reichert might, but I'd wager that he's not exactly living paycheck to paycheck at moment.
So yeah, this no-budget-no-pay gimmick is just that: A gimmick. And only the gullible would lend it any credence.