GOP: "Pass a budget or you don't get paid"

For the third time in as many weeks, Republicans used their weekly address Saturday to slam Senate Democrats for not passing a budget in four years, touting a proposal that would withhold lawmakers' paychecks until they pass a budget and accusing Democrats of "a failure to lead."

Rep. Susan Brooks, a freshman Republican from Indiana, said, "I recently voted along with my colleagues in the House to present the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate with a simple, but powerful challenge: pass a budget or you don't get paid.

"By forcing Senate Democrats to finally live up to one of the most basic responsibilities of governing - passing a budget - we are presenting them a golden opportunity to confront and solve our spending problem."

President Obama agreed with the GOP's call for austerity in his address, but argued, "We can't just cut our way to prosperity. It hasn't worked in the past, and it won't work today. It could slow down our recovery. It could weaken our economy. And it could cost us jobs - now and in the future."

"What we need instead," Mr. Obama said, "is a balanced approach; an approach that says, 'Let's cut what we can't afford but let's make the investments we can't afford to live without.'"

Budgets passed by Congress do not actually allocate federal funds - they serve as a blueprint for future spending that is subsequently doled out in separate appropriations bills.

The House GOP passed its "no budget, no pay" proposal Jan. 23, along with a three-month extension of the federal government's borrowing limit. Many Republicans were initially reluctant to raise the debt ceiling, seeing it as a prime opportunity to extract spending cuts from Democrats, but GOP leaders blinked, opting out of a potentially messy confrontation.

Instead, as Brooks explained, the House GOP challenged Senate Democrats by temporarily lifting the debt ceiling but demanding a budget.

Senate Democrats accepted the House GOP's challenge this week, passing the debt ceiling extension along with the "no budget, no pay" bill Thursday.

Brooks also lit into Democrats for the upcoming "sequester," which she described as "a series of harmful, across-the-board cuts" that will land on March 1 unless Congress votes again to suspend or annul them.

She described the automatic cuts as "the president's sequester." The cuts were proposed and passed by a strong bipartisan majority in Congress.

The White House has described the cuts as "bad policy," and indicated its desire to replace the sequester with more targeted cuts and additional revenue.