Is the “no budget, no pay” unconstitutional?

by Ashley Bidne

Widener University Political Science/Criminal Justice Major

We all know the stereotypes that say congress is incapable of agreeing or compromising on anything. America is now facing approximately $16 trillion in debt and for almost 4 years the United States has not had a set budget.  Any average citizen would find themselves hiding from collectors and moving back in with their parents. However, the federal budget is not so simple. Now a “no budget, no pay” bill has been passed extending the debt limit and holding congress accountable for a budget.

Although, many are claiming this bill is unconstitutional according to the 27th Amendment. The 27th amendment reads “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened,” In my opinion, this simply limits senators and representatives from raising their pay until after  congressional elections, except for Cost of Living Allowances. The bill would not reduce members pay, but withhold it. This puts ample amount of pressure on Representatives and Senators to finally make a budget for the United States. My only concern is whether their paychecks will take priority over what is best for our country and its finances.  However, we can all agree that four years is a significant amount of time to be without a budget, it is time to put pressure on congress to do their job.

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