December 13, 2011

Manchin Cosponsors ‘No Budget, No Pay’ Legislation, Urges Support for No Labels’ ‘Make Congress Work’ Agenda

At press conference, Manchin encourages colleagues to restore civility and commonsense to Congress

Washington, D.C.— As part of an effort to make Congress work better, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) signed on to bipartisan legislation today to prevent lawmakers from getting their paychecks if they don’t produce a budget. 

The “No Budget, No Pay,” legislation is just one of the initiatives that Senator Manchin supports in the “Make Congress Work” agenda, a 12-point proposal to help change the way Congress does business. Senator Manchin joined fellow lawmakers and No Labels – a group of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents who are dedicated to taking partisan politics out of government and getting this country moving again – at a press conference today to announce the plan. 

“We’re trying to put civility and commonsense solutions back into governing,” Senator Manchin said. “Everyone around here is so focused on who they can blame for the problems facing this nation, and how they can score political points for the next election. That is not what we were sent here to do. We should be thinking about the next generation and how we can help our children and our children’s children succeed in an America that is as strong as ever. We should be working together on the ways we can make America an even better country, and that is what I hope this ‘Make Congress Work’ agenda will help us accomplish.” 

The 12 pillars of the “Make Congress Work” agenda are included below:

Breaking Gridlock

1. Members of Congress will be docked pay for each day that they fail to pass the budget and all appropriations bills for the next fiscal year before the prior fiscal year ends.

2. All presidential nominations for executive and judicial positions must be confirmed or rejected within 90 days after the Senate receives the completed nomination.

3. Fix the filibuster: If senators want to halt action on a bill, they must take to the floor and hold it through sustained debate; end filibusters on motions to proceed to debate. 

4. Empower the sensible majority by reforming House and Senate procedures to fast-track legislation with majority support. 

5. Change the congressional work schedule so that Congress can get the American people’s work done.

Promoting Constructive Discussion

6. Institute a regular “question period” that brings Congress and the president together.

7. Institute an annual report to a joint session of Congress on America’s fiscal condition, coordinated and delivered by a high-ranking non-partisan official such as the Comptroller General.

Reducing Polarization

8. Members of Congress should be bound by no pledges except the Oath of Office. 

9. Institute monthly nonpartisan gatherings in each chamber (off the record).

10. Eliminate partisan seating in all joint meetings or sessions and on committees and subcommittees.

11. Form a nonpartisan Congressional Leadership Committee.

12. Incumbents of one party should not conduct negative campaigns against members of the opposing party, but members are free to campaign in support of candidates from their own party. (Open seat elections would be exempted.)