With great fanfare, the do-nothing Congress passed the “No Budget, No Pay” bill, threatening to withhold congressmen’s paychecks if they don’t pass a budget. But Congress can’t really mess with its own pay. So what happens if a budget doesn’t pass? Paychecks get deposited in an escrow account and members of Congress get paid in full, all at once at the end of the current term.
“But a more significant problem is that most legislators probably couldn’t care less if their pay was withheld indefinitely. As of 2011, the average estimated wealth of members of Congress was $6.5 million in the House and $13.9 million in the Senate. And unlike many of their constituents, they haven’t exactly been struggling through lean times recently. While average American households saw their median net worth drop 39 percent from 2007 to 2010, lawmakers’ rose 5 percent during the same period.”
— “No Pay, No Problem: Why Congress Doesn’t Need Our Money,” Tim Price, Next New Deal
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