Kids who are bad in school often get punished by staying at their desks while the other kids play at recess.
Now, a House Republican is hoping to impose that same punishment on members of Congress.
Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) has proposed legislation that would prevent Congress from going on recess until it passes a balanced budget, and passes all of its spending bills on time. Ribble calls his bill the Do Your Job Act, and says members need an incentive — the threat of being trapped in Washington — to make the right fiscal choices for the country.
“If our job’s not done, we shouldn’t go home,” Ribble said in a letter to House members asking for support. “We in Congress need to spend our time talking to each other, holding committee debates and votes on important bills, and then prioritizing floor time for budget bills during the spring and summer months each year.”
Ribble’s bill finds that the national debt now exceeds $17 trillion, and that Congress was only in session for about 160 days last year. “Congressional recess in a time of excessive national debt is a lost opportunity to reach agreement about a balanced budget,” the bill states.
It would then set a rule saying neither the House nor the Senate could recess or stand adjourned for more than 24 hours at a time, up until Congress agrees to a budget resolution that eliminates the budget deficit by 2024.
The bill was proposed just as Congress is in the midst of passing spending bills, but once again is at risk of not finishing work on all 12 annual spending bills.
As of Friday, the House has passed five of the 12 bills, and the Senate has not passed any. While members are again hopeful that all 12 can be passed this year, Congress has had to rely on last-minute spending bills for the last several years that don’t give members much time to assess federal spending programs.
“Right now, Congress gives too little attention to passing budgets and appropriating funds in a timely and orderly manner,” Ribble’s letter to members argued. “Too often we pass only a handful of appropriations bills and then rely on continuing resolutions and omnibus bills to fund the government.”
Read Ribble’s bill here: