California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said Friday that a provision in House GOP leadership’s “no budget, no pay” plan is unconstitutional.
“That’s unconstitutional,” Issa said of House leadership’s plan to withhold the pay of members of Congress if they don’t pass a budget by April 15.
The plan offers to raise the debt ceiling for three months, and the Senate must pass a budget by the end of that time period–April 15. If they fail to pass the budget by April 15, members of Congress wouldn’t be paid.
Issa said that would interfere with the 27th amendment to the Constitution, which doesn’t allow pay for members of Congress to change until after an election. “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened,” the 27th amendment reads.
Hours before, American Majority Action spokesman Ron Meyer also said the plan was unconstitutional for the same reason. Because of that, Meyer said “No Budget No Pay” couldn’t “take effect until next Congress.”
Meyer also said in an email that “numerous conservative members of the House have already come out and said they won’t vote for a plan which doesn’t cut spending.” At this time, it’s unclear if “No Budget No Pay” will cut any spending.
UPDATED (5:40pmET): In a statement to Breitbart News after this piece was published, Issa said he "strongly support[s] the House Republican leadership's proposal to link the debt ceiling increase to passage of a budget by the Senate which has gone 1360 days without passing a blueprint for federal spending. While the 27th Amendment prohibits Congress from varying its own pay within a given Congress, as I noted in my interview it can certainly withhold pay. I have not read the legislative text of the 'No Budget, No Pay' proposal and how it approaches historically difficult questions about Congressional compensation. I would note that there has even been legal action taken challenging the current system that gives Members of Congress an automatic pay-raise. I have been an advocate for the strategy of linking a debt ceiling increase to passage of a budget as an effective way of forcing President Obama to focus on our nation's long term fiscal situation. I expect the final proposal brought before the House will have resolved any constitutional questions and that it will have my support."