Congressman Jim Cooper

Representing the 5th District of Tennessee
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Cooper Reintroduces No Budget, No Pay Act

Mar 29, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) today reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would stop congressional pay if Congress fails to pass America’s budget bills on time.

A longtime advocate for congressional reform, Rep. Cooper first introduced the No Budget, No Pay Act in 2011 after a Nashville constituent asked why Congress is allowed to miss budget and tax deadlines while the public has no such luxury.

“Congress is the only place in America where you get paid for showing up but not doing your work. There shouldn’t be special treatment for members of Congress,” Rep. Cooper said. “They should live by the same rules as everybody else: Do your job and do it on time, or you don’t get paid. It’s that simple.”

Earlier this month, Rep. Cooper issued a statement about President Trump’s proposed budget. Rep. Cooper strongly criticized the president’s suggested blueprint and noted that Congress ultimately sets the nation’s spending priorities.

Congress overwhelmingly passed a watered-down, one-year version of Rep. Cooper’s No Budget, No Pay Act in 2013. That year, the House and Senate passed individual budgets for the first time in four years.

Rep. Cooper’s No Budget, No Pay Act is permanent and would halt paychecks for all House and Senate members if they miss annual deadlines for budget and appropriations bills. The No Budget, No Pay Act would prohibit members from receiving pay for each day past Sept. 30 that budget and spending bills don’t pass.

Members would not be allowed to recover the pay retroactively.

It has been 20 years since all appropriations bills were passed on time.

Rep. Cooper today introduced the No Budget, No Pay Act in the House with Reps. Ami Bera (D-CA), Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Ron DeSantis (R-FL).

To access the bill text, click here. For a one-pager with FAQs, click here.