When I speak with Virginians, one thing I consistently hear is, "we need to change how Congress operates." People are rightly frustrated by what they see happening in Washington: budget by crisis, missing important legislative deadlines, and partisan bickering, just to name a few. I am frustrated, too. That is why I have made reforming how Congress works one of my top priorities as your representative.
In fact, one thing I am most looking forward to working on with the new Trump Administration is ending business as usual in Washington. I believe ending business as usual in Washington starts with passing budgets and spending bills on time. Your elected leaders must set an example by completing these most basic of tasks. But in the past, there have not been accountability measures in place to ensure the job gets done. That is something I am committed to changing!
I introduced two bills aimed at reforming how Congress works by bringing needed accountability to the Congressional budget process. The first is the No Budget, No Pay Act. It states that members of Congress are prohibited from receiving paychecks if their respective chamber does not pass a budget by mid-April. If the House does not pass a budget - as Congress failed to do last year – members of Congress should not be paid. Your family would not operate without a budget. Why should the federal government be any different? Clearly, it should not.
The second bill is the Stay on Schedule Resolution. This resolution would amend House rules to prevent members of the House from taking the traditional August recess when critical spending bills remain to be passed. Failure to pass the 12 annual spending bills prevents federal agencies like the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Transportation from meeting current demands and planning for the future. Given the importance of the spending bills, members of the House should stay in Washington until they are all passed. Families in Virginia are sitting around their kitchen tables making tough decisions on their budgets and spending every day. Congress should be no different.
I will be the first to admit that reforming how Congress works will take time. But the longest of journeys must begin with a single step. I believe bringing accountability to the budget process should be that first step.