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Wittman's Weekly: We Must Hold Members of Congress Accountable

From the Desk of Rob Wittman


Our nation’s debt is out of control – today, it stands at more than $29 Trillion. For years, Congress has failed to address our nation’s spending problem, making it much harder to solve the problems of our country’s crippling debt. Without immediate change, the problems of today will only be passed onto our children and grandchildren. We need to know where our money is going and work through funding the federal government in a responsible, thoughtful, deliberate way through regular order – not rushed through at the last minute as we consistently see from Congress. We must change this culture in Washington.

Government funding is set to expire in less than a month, on February 18th, 2022, and Congress has yet to pass all 12 appropriations bills needed to fully fund our government. As a result, the likelihood of a massive spending bill, a disruptive continuing resolution, or a government shutdown becomes all the more likely. None of these options are good governance or fiscally responsible. Continuing resolutions, or CRs, have become a comfortable fall back for Congress. They are a direct result of this “budgeting by crisis” mentality we see in Washington, but they are harmful to our economy, our military, and our country.

Funding the federal government is a basic responsibility of Congress. If we are to change this mentality and culture in Washington, we must first hold Members of Congress accountable and bring transparency back to the budget and appropriations process.

As I have done every session since I’ve been in Congress, I have urged leadership to fund our government with appropriations bills passed through regular order instead of through a Continuing Resolution. I have consistently  introducing legislation that would bring greater accountability to Members of Congress:

  1. The Stay on Schedule (S.O.S) Resolution – would force Speaker Pelosi to keep Congress in town until all 12 appropriations bills are passed, instead of adjourning for the August recess.

  2. The No Budget, No Pay Act – would prevent Members from being paid until we pass a budget

  3. Inaction Has Consequences Act – would hold Congress Members’ salaries if we do not pass regular appropriation bills before the end of the Fiscal year.

Unfortunately, these bills have not moved forward because Members of Congress are consistently unwilling to put their pay or vacation on the line in order to make these tough budgeting decisions and complete the work of the people. However, I remain committed to advocating for this legislation and calling on my colleagues to fulfill their commitment to the American people.

The answer is simple: Members of Congress should be held accountable for their inaction. We must get our work done and be held accountable if we don’t.