The House on Wednesday put new pressure on the Senate to pass its first budget in nearly four years, by approving a bill that threatens to withhold senators’ pay until that work is done.
The bill suspends the debt ceiling until May 18, and requires each chamber to pass a budget by April 15 or have its members face a suspension of pay. Republicans are hoping the bill gives Congress a few months to find a longer-term debt-ceiling agreement that includes significant spending cuts.
But even as the House was passing the bill, Senate Democrats were downplaying the measure, and announced their own plans to pass a budget resolution this year.
Passage came after an hour-long floor debate in which GOP leaders cast the bill as something that would finally drag the Senate into a debate over fiscal policy that it has long ignored.
“Even when the Democrats had control in the two years before that, you all did a budget,” Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said. “And yet, for nearly four years the United States Senate has not done a budget.
“I have no doubt that we’re going to do our work,” Boehner added, referring to the House. “We’re committed to doing a budget and a 10-year plan to solve our budget crisis and to balance our budget.
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