March 20, 2012
Dear Member of Congress
As you continue your work in Congress and consider ways to make this country stronger, one welcome improvement would be to make Congress more efficient and accountable to its citizens. We urge you to support the No Budget, No Pay Act (H.R. 3643, and S. 1981) which was introduced in the House by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) and in the Senate by Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV). The legislation would require the House and Senate to pass a budget and all twelve appropriations bills by the beginning of the fiscal year. This legislation if enacted would help restore citizen confidence in the legislative branch by tying pay to performance in Congress.
Most Americans feel that Congress is “out of touch” and ineffective at legislating. One example is the Senate’s failure to pass a budget resolution for more than one thousand days. This lack of action is a violation of the 1974 Budget Act that requires Congress to pass an annual budget. This deficiency (or failure to act) has lead to record low approval ratings and constituent dissatisfaction. It is no secret that members of Congress are well compensated for their work. As a member, you earn a generous salary that amounts to more than 3.4 times the average American. In fact, a July 2011 report released by Our Generation determined that congressional compensation, including benefits, totals around $285,000 per year. This compensation is paid to members of Congress regardless of their performance. With a $1.3 trillion budget deficit and over $15 trillion national debt, our county has some serious financial issues that need to be addressed by a responsive and accountable legislative branch.
While it is true that elections make politicians accountable to voters, these do not happen every year, while legislative responsibilities do. Therefore, a bill like the No Budget, No Pay Act would benefit the country by increasing the level of accountability that Congress has to the voting public.
Our Generation is a non-partisan, nonprofit grassroots citizens group, dedicated to improving the lives of senior citizens through awareness and advocacy. I hope you find the above information useful and consider our viewpoints as you continue to serve in the U.S. Congress.