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Is 'No Budget, No Pay' Unconstitutional?
Christian Post ^ | 01/24/2013 | Napp Nazworth

Posted on 01/24/2013 9:00:29 PM PST by SeekAndFind

The House of Representatives approved Wednesday, 285-144, a three-month extension of the debt limit. Included in that bill was a "no budget, no pay" provision, which requires members of Congress to pass a budget, or they will not receive a salary. Some of the lawmakers who voted against the bill say that the "no budget, no pay" provision violates the 27th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The 27th Amendment states: "No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened." This amendment essentially says that if Congress changes its salary, or any other parts of its compensation, those changes will not go into effect until after the next election. Since the "no budget, no pay" law would change the compensation for lawmakers, by making it $0, it would violate this amendment, opponents claim.

"The American people rightfully expect Congress to do its job, and that includes passing a budget." Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said in a Wednesday statement. "However, while I support the concept of the 'No Budget, No Pay' bill, the 27th Amendment to our Constitution specifically says 'No law, varying the compensation for services of Senators and Representatives, shall take effect' until after an intervening election. The language is clear and unambiguous. I support the spirit of the bill, but it did not meet constitutional standards.

"Each member takes their own oath of fidelity to the Constitution, and I respect the view of my colleagues who disagree. In order to keep my oath to the Constitution, my only choice was to vote no."

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) told Fox News Monday that he would vote against the bill for the same reason. "I understand the sentiment behind 'no budget, no pay ... that said ... it appears that the 27th Amendment does not permit Congress to alter its pay in the midst of a current session," Jeffries said.

The 27th Amendment has an interesting history of citizen activism.

The 27th Amendment, authored by James Madison, was one of the first 12 amendments proposed by the 1st Congress. Ten of those amendments were ratified shortly after by the original 13 states. Those 10 amendments became known as the Bill of Rights.

In 1982, Gregory Watson wrote a paper about the amendment for his American government class at the University of Texas at Austin. Though he received a "C" on the paper, Watson decided the amendment should be ratified and began a personal quest to get enough states to ratify it so that it would be added to the Constitution.

Ten years later, in 1992, Watson succeeded. Madison's previously forgotten amendment was added to the Constitution. It was the last time the Constitution was amended


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: budget; debt; senate

1 posted on 01/24/2013 9:00:41 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
That amendment was never intended to apply to assault congresscritters.

/johnny

2 posted on 01/24/2013 9:05:18 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: SeekAndFind

‘No Budget’ is UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Don’t withhold Reid’s pay.. IMPEACH HIM FOR VIOLATING HIS OATH OF OFFICE.


3 posted on 01/24/2013 9:06:13 PM PST by Obama_Is_Sabotaging_America (IMPEACH OBAMA)
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To: SeekAndFind

If we can install a president with a fake Hawaii BC, then what else can also be ignored from the constitution?


4 posted on 01/24/2013 9:07:17 PM PST by entropy12 (The republic is doomed when people figure out they can get free stuff by voting democrats)
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To: SeekAndFind
Hahaha! Now people are concerned about the constitution.

Okay, have it apply to the next congress. They'd never allow that to happen, just like the sequester...
5 posted on 01/24/2013 9:12:57 PM PST by andyk (I have sworn...eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.)
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To: SeekAndFind

HA-HA, read carefully,

It only delays their pay it doesn’t cut any of it.

So this argument is DOA.


6 posted on 01/24/2013 9:16:31 PM PST by sickoflibs (Losing to Dems and Obama is not a principle! Its just losing.)
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To: SeekAndFind; xzins

The bill does not alter the rate of compensation. It merely sets up a condition on when and under what conditions the compensation will be issued.


7 posted on 01/24/2013 9:18:51 PM PST by P-Marlowe (There can be no Victory without a fight and no battle without wounds.)
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To: SeekAndFind; All

Its unconstitutional imo. And given that voters don’t know the Constitution, “No budget, no pay” is a publicity stunt imo.


8 posted on 01/24/2013 9:41:10 PM PST by Amendment10
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To: SeekAndFind

This is actually quite simple. The “compensation for services...” is not being changed. Just the compensation for NO services!


9 posted on 01/24/2013 9:43:14 PM PST by tv_techie
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To: SeekAndFind

This is actually quite simple. The “compensation for services...” is not being changed. Just the compensation for NO services!


10 posted on 01/24/2013 9:43:29 PM PST by tv_techie
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To: SeekAndFind

They should just be fired.
They are not doing their job.
Of course we will get a large hearing over why no one was going in the Hall of Fame,
Investigate why Hockey started late
And countless other ‘important issues - oh yes, there will definitely be some legislation inre the Notre Dame football player - not that Katy Couric got involved.
Maybe the guy will show up with his NEW invisible girl friend?
Of course we laugh at the invisible girl friend yet have NO comment over the invisible money these guys are spending.

Always marveled over how a pol will say ‘We are broke’ etc then a few months later there is a 10 million buck surplus, then when agencies want it, it mysteriously disappears until the pol needs another bump...

Being a business owner, the shelf life of my bookkeeper would be over the day he FOUND 10 mill laying around, real or imagined.


11 posted on 01/24/2013 9:52:22 PM PST by xrmusn (6/98 "It is virtually impossible to clean the pond as long as the pigs are still crapping in it")
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12 posted on 01/24/2013 10:00:36 PM PST by onyx (FREE REPUBLIC IS HERE TO STAY! DONATE MONTHLY! IF YOU WANT ON SARAH PALIN''S PING LIST, LET ME KNOW)
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To: Amendment10

“No budget, no pay” is a publicity stunt imo.

Just another “theatrics ploy” by these morons. It’s not unlike the so-called “super committee” that was supposed to resolve the debt crisis. These are all simply mechanisms for avoiding doing the hard work required to fix a mess that they created. You have to wonder just how long they can keep kicking the can down the road.


13 posted on 01/24/2013 10:18:58 PM PST by vette6387
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To: SeekAndFind

“... I support the spirit of the bill, but it did not meet constitutional standards.”

SINCE WHEN did the congresscritter offal CARE about constitutionality????

Throw them ALL into the Boston Port (as opposed to tea)!

And, let’s STOP paying their salaries!


14 posted on 01/24/2013 10:21:19 PM PST by Mortrey (Impeach President Soros)
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To: SeekAndFind

It’s another gimmick anyway. The pay goes into an escrow account, probably a high interest one and when a budget is reached they get the back pay. That’s not “NO PAY”.

As far as I’m concerned they should get NO pay until the national debt is paid.


15 posted on 01/25/2013 2:29:44 AM PST by maddog55 (America Rising.... Civil War II)
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To: Obama_Is_Sabotaging_America

Sorry folks—it would be unconstitutional. But we could cut back the pay to 1950s levels?


16 posted on 01/25/2013 3:25:43 AM PST by Forward the Light Brigade (Into the Jaws of H*ll)
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To: sickoflibs

True it does not change their pay in any way. It just requires them to approve the budget before receiving it. There is nothing in the constitution that states when they must receive it.


17 posted on 01/25/2013 4:10:36 AM PST by Kadric
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To: SeekAndFind

Article I of the constitution requires a budget. So how could “no budget no pay” be unconstitutional. Technically there is no money to pay their salaries.


18 posted on 01/25/2013 4:12:35 AM PST by chainsaw ("Two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by Obama")
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To: Kadric
RE :”True it does not change their pay in any way. It just requires them to approve the budget before receiving it. There is nothing in the constitution that states when they must receive it.”

And I think they get the remainder of their pay at the end of the session next year regardless.

Plus I think its based on each house passing their own budget resolution (not a passed budget in law) and so just those House members pay is delayed for the House that doesnt pass one, not the other.

Its a symbolic act that counters the high congress disapproval and it gives the House a reason to go out on a limb with a resolution when the Senate refuses.

19 posted on 01/25/2013 4:35:45 AM PST by sickoflibs (Losing to Dems and Obama is not a principle! Its just losing.)
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To: chainsaw

There is nothing in the Constitution regarding budgets. The budget requirement under the law stems from the Budget act of 1974.

And the other day Newt addressed the pay issue. He said you couldn’t anybody’s pay because of the Constitution, but it can be withheld until the end of the session or perhaps the end of the congress (can’t remember exactly what he said). So that’s either January 2014 or at the latest January 2015. No budget-no pay does have teeth.


20 posted on 01/25/2013 6:00:23 AM PST by cotton1706
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To: chainsaw
Technically there is no money to pay their salaries.

Bingo

21 posted on 01/25/2013 7:30:38 AM PST by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: P-Marlowe; SeekAndFind; Amendment10

First, there is no constitutional provision that a budget be produced. That is a matter of law passed by Congress in a constitutional manner.

There is a constitutional provision that legislators be compensated. As Marlowe points out, the House desires a law that defines the conditions that must be met in order to receive that compensation. In other words, merely being elected doesn’t entitle them to the compensation, but doing the job does. And not doing a particular, legally based part of the job will have that pay withheld.


22 posted on 01/25/2013 11:13:09 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! True supporters of our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: xzins; All

Thanks for your comment xzins.

Regarding the constitutionality of this issue, I am in error concerning my knee-jerk comment about the title of this thread, the “no pay” part, as apposed to basing my comment on what the bill(?) actually says, which I haven’t read. Assuming peacetime “part time” duties with respect to administering Congress’s constitutionally-limited powers, the Constitution guarantees lawmakers compensation for their services (1.6.2).

But my main concern about this thread is that the pay issue is nothing more than an unprofessional publicitiy stunt, imo, likely meant to impress voters who are probably mostly Constitution-ignorant.


23 posted on 01/25/2013 1:43:38 PM PST by Amendment10
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To: SeekAndFind; All
I will note an important thing about the federal budget which I have mentioned in related threads. Justice John Marshall had taken the Founding States' division of federal and state government powers a major leap forward, imo, when he officially clarified Congress's limited power to lay taxes.

More specifically, Justice Marhall had clarifed that Congress is prohibited from laying takes in the name of state power issues, issues which Congress cannot justify under the Constitution's Section 8 of Article I, or other constitutionally express expenses.

"Congress is not empowered to tax for those purposes which are within the exclusive province of the States." --Justice John Marshall, Gibbons v. Ogden, 1824.

Here is my rough estimate of how much Congress's Article I, Section 8-limited powers should be costing taxpayers per year. Given that the plurality of clauses in Section 8 are defense related, and given that Department of Defense (DoD) budget for 2011 was $600+ billion, I will generously round up the DoD annual budget to $1 trillion, but probably much less, as an estimate of how much taxpayers should be paying Congress annually to fulfil its Section 8 duties.

In other words, we should not be hearing about multi-trillion dollar annual budgets that Obama guard dog Fx News and other pro-Obama "news" media are reporting in federal public policy discussions without mentioning Justice Marshall's clarification of Congress's limited power to lay taxes.

So Congress's "No budget, no pay" stunt beautifully sidesteps Congress's Section 8-limited powers imo.

24 posted on 01/25/2013 2:34:20 PM PST by Amendment10
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