Congressman Jim Cooper

Representing the 5th District of Tennessee
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Flickr icon
YouTube icon
RSS icon

Cooper Bill Would Stop Congressional Pay if U.S. Defaults

Oct 19, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) has reintroduced legislation that would stop congressional pay if America defaults on the national debt.

“Risking default is like playing with nitroglycerin. Never a good idea,” Rep. Cooper said. “This is much worse than shutting down government. This would be shutting down America. If Members of Congress betray our country by forcing America to default on our debts, we do not deserve to be paid. In fact, we deserve worse punishments.”

Cooper is sponsoring the Stop Pay for Members Act as America again creeps toward fiscal disaster. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew recently warned that Congress must increase the debt limit by Nov. 3 or risk federal default.

A longtime advocate of a bipartisan debt plan that tackles America’s toughest problems, Cooper considers his bill a remedy for persistent congressional misbehavior.

In 2011, Congress came within hours of not raising the debt ceiling – a parliamentary procedure allowing America to pay bills it has already incurred. Citing partisan brinksmanship in Congress, Standard & Poor’s downgraded America’s credit rating. This U.S. Treasury report describes what happened, as America came dangerously close to default. Cooper first introduced the Stop Pay for Members Act during this crisis.

Two years later, Cooper reintroduced the bill, and House Republicans eventually used it as the basis of an amendment to a debt ceiling bill. The amendment passed overwhelmingly, receiving 340 votes.