On Wednesday, the House passed the “No Budget, No Pay Bill” which will temporarily suspend the nation’s debt ceiling until May 19th. Included in the measure is a provision that would withhold congressional pay after April 15th and extend until Congress passes a budget. During a press conference, in the middle of the House vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate would take up the House measure “as is,” and the president is expected to sign it.
The Hill reports 33 Republicans voted against it because it didn’t include any spending cuts, but 86 Democrats voted for it with the final vote being 285-144.
Representative Paul Broun (R-GA), a former Marine Corps reservist and Navy officer, says he was willing to go along with it, since no other viable solutions were on the table. “I’m very unhappy, especially as a member of the military, that we’d be having any more defense cuts,” he says. “But if the sequestration does occur, then I’ll support those cuts. I think it’s necessary to make those real kinds of cuts, and then hopefully we can restore military spending and offset it with other spending cuts elsewhere.”
The sequestration is now pretty much a certainty. Additionally, Boehner promised five influential conservatives he would push a budget that would balance in 10 years and keep spending levels at or below those set under the sequestration’s cuts.
A senior GOP aide has pointed out that sequestration lacks “the cliff-like finality” of default and can be dealt with more easily, retroactively, through legislation to restore defense spending. That being said, getting a bill through congress is often easier said than done.
The budget debate that will now ensue is made up of three components:
1) Debt ceiling
3) Budget expiration