Members of Congress should put country’s budget before themselves

Junne Park, Photo Editor

Whenever we see something we disapprove of that UR is doing around campus, be it replacing paper menus in Wilson Commons with digital ones, or free Shake Weight giveaways (yes, this happened last year), we can’t help but think, “There’s my tuition at work!”

Some days, it feels like our college has free reign over how it spends our tuition, investing it in irresponsible ways. Our Fraternity Quad buildings have needed desperate renovations for years and are only just receiving them. Our campus still is not completely wireless. Some days, it seems like there is no budget that is being used to invest this money responsibly and set these priorities straight.

While this only occurs some days for us, this absurdity happens every day in Congress. Our legislature has passed its federal budget and all spending bills necessary to fund the government only four times in the past 60 years. To make matters worse, in the past 14 years, annual spending bills have been submitted about four months late.

With no budget, Congress relies on temporary spending measures (called continuing resolutions) and passes these under the radar. These measures continue the last year’s budget without any discussion over where the money is going and why we need it there. Without an updated budget, Congress is giving money away to federal agencies to do as they see fit! Spend first, ask questions later — that is the mindset of our elected officials.

Fortunately, a bill has been proposed in Congress called No Budget, No Pay. It states that if members of Congress can’t come to an agreement and pass all 12 spending bills before the submission deadline of Oct. 1 (the start of the fiscal year), their pay should be withheld until they are passed. This idea was proposed by the grassroots movement No Labels, which is made up of over half a million democrats, republicans and independents working together to end the gridlock plaguing Congress.

No Budget, No Pay has been introduced in both congressional chambers and has 92 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle. If this becomes law, members of Congress will be forced to come together for their most fundamental responsibility: to decide how much money the government takes in and how much it spends.

If our lawmakers can be incentivized to work together and pass all spending bills on time, then hopefully they will realize the progress they can achieve by reaching across the aisle and solving problems together, regardless of party affiliation.

With a looming fiscal cliff in December and a $16 trillion federal debt, there is no time to waste in solving America’s problems.

No longer can a gridlocked, hyper-partisan Congress kick the can down the road like it has been the past few years; the nation’s financial problems are becoming too big for our leaders to refuse to cooperate.

Our futures are in Congress’ hands, and we must take a stand against gridlock to make sure the problems of today do not affect the leaders of tomorrow.

Fox is a member of the class of 2013.



You can contact Greg at gfox2@u.rochester.edu.

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