US Senate Passes 'No Budget, No Pay' To Extend Debt Ceiling

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US Congress
Congress is out on recess all of August but will have to move swiftly in September to pass a bill to fund the government.

The United States Senate on Thursday passed the so-called No Budget, No Pay Act that will prevent the U.S. from hitting its debt limit until May 19.

The legislation, which passed in a 64 to 34 vote, will allow the U.S. Treasury Department to borrow whatever sum in necessary to keep the nation afloat until the May deadline. Unless Congress is able to extend the debt limit by that time, the Treasury will add whatever it ultimately spends to the country’s current $16.4 trillion ceiling. The House approved the measure last week, 285-144.

Eleven Republicans, including Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Susan Collins of Maine and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, voted with the Democratic Caucus to pass the legislation. Two Democrats missed the vote, the Hill reported. The bill in question contains one widely reported catchphrase from which it earned its name. Under the legislation, members of chamber that do not approve a budget resolution by April 15 will have their congressional pay withheld until they do so. The provision is a criticism of the Democratic-controlled Senate, which has failed to pass a budget since 2009.

In that scenario, lawmakers’ pay would be held in escrow until the last day of the congressional session.

Yet despite the provision, Democrats have praised the bill for agreeing to a debt limit extension that is not intrinsically tied to spending cuts.

“I was reassured by House Republicans’ decision last week to back off their reckless threat to hold the debt ceiling hostage. ... A clean debt ceiling increase that allows the United States to meet its existing obligations should be the standard,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Thursday.

The bill has been sent to President Barack Obama for his signature.

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