John Lewis represents the fifth congressional district of Georgia. I live in the fifth district, specifically in the section of Atlanta known as the West End. John Lewis, unfortunately, has not been returning calls regarding his support or really lack of support for H.B. 3643, the No Budget No Pay Act. The Act would keep members from Congress from getting paid for everyday in a fiscal year in which no budget has been passed.
Imagine if this bill were enacted three years ago. Wow, would we have saved a few million dollars or what. Better yet, we might have had a budget for the last three fiscal years.
So far seventy-nine members of the House of Representatives have shown their support for the bill by adding their names as co-sponsors. Over in the Senate, 11 members of that august chamber have signed on as co-sponsors of the companion bill, S. 1981, including Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.
Unfortunately Mr. Lewis and Senator Johnny Isakson have not signed on. I don’t know specifically why each of them have not. Maybe they believe such an initiative would lock them in a box; that they would lose some flexibility were they agree to having a budget passed by October 1, the beginning day, of each new fiscal year.
I really do not see how support would be disadvantageous. American law and the American electorate expect a budget be agreed on; a fiscal plan for how the nation plans to finance the activities necessary for maintaining American liberties and freedom.
This probably makes John Lewis’ failure to throw support behind H.B. 3643 all the more peculiar. How else is the government to finance and execute the laws he so holds dear, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, if agencies such as the U.S. Department of Justice don’t know where their next dollars and cents are coming from?