Today, the co-chairs of the fiscally-responsible, Democratic Blue Dog Coalition—Reps. Jim Costa (D-CA), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), and Daniel Lipinski (D-IL)—released the following statement on the proposed Continuing Resolution, which will fund the federal government until January 19, 2018:
Congressional approval ratings are at an all-time low, and with good reason. Partisan finger pointing and institutional brokenness have led to gridlock at a time when the country most needs solutions. The Blue Dog Coalition understands that in order to fix our fiscal problems and grow the economy, we must reach across the aisle and find common ground. We must also reform the current institutional culture that rewards extremism and hinders bipartisan compromise.
“Partisan gerrymandering is leaving moderates and independents across the country without a voice in Washington,” said Congressman Barrow. “Folks on the extreme left and right are overrepresented in Congress and are only adding to the gridlock. Taking the politics out of redistricting will help to ensure that Americans get the representation that adequately reflects their views, not an elected official chosen by manipulating district lines,” said Rep. Barrow.
H.R. 337, “The Redistricting Transparency Act of 2013,” introduced by Mr. Cooper of Tennessee, requires each state to hold open hearings and publish a public website with data on Congressional districts, so that the public may participate in the system by which district lines are drawn.
“Less than a quarter of House districts are truly competitive because they’ve been drawn to favor one party. Republicans and Democrats are guilty of gerrymandering and of keeping voters in the dark about redistricting,” said Rep. Cooper. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant. No one should be against transparency.”
NO BUDGET, NO PAY
Blue Dogs support the idea that Members of Congress should not get paid until they do their job and pass a budget. Blue Dog policy co-chair, Rep. Jim Cooper, introduced the No Budget, No Pay Act, H.R. 310, which would require Congress to pass its budget and all appropriations bills by October 1st of every year, the start of the nation’s fiscal year. If Congress fails to pass both a budget and all of its appropriations bills on time, then Members of Congress will not get paid until they do so.
A version of the No Budget, No Pay Act was signed into law as part of the latest debt ceiling, or "fiscal cliff," deal. The bill withholds Congressional pay for members of the House and/or Senate should either chamber fail to adopt a budget resolution by April 15.
"The idea behind No Budget, No Pay came from a Nashvillian who approached me two years ago," said Cooper. "He said, 'I don't get paid if I don't do my job, and do it on time. Why should Congress be any different?' I agree, and this bill makes Congress follow the same rule that every American understands: do your work if you want to get paid.
The fiscally-responsible Blue Dog Coalition has endorsed the H.R. 1779, No Budget, No Pay Act, authored by Blue Dog Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN) and co-sponsored by several other Blue Dog members. No Budget, No Pay would stop congressional pay if Congress fails to pass America’s budget bills on time.
A longtime advocate for congressional reform, Rep. Cooper first introduced the No Budget, No Pay Act in 2011 after a constituent in Nashville, Tennessee, asked why Congress is allowed to miss budget and tax deadlines while the public has no such luxury.
The fiscally-responsible Blue Dog Coalition has endorsed two pieces of legislation authored by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) in an effort to stop gerrymandering and to reveal the secret congressional redistricting process to all Americans. This has been a longstanding priority of the Blue Dogs during times of both Democratic and Republican majorities in Congress.