This message will be blessedly short and sweet.
We—the people of the United States—should work to propose and create a Constitutional Amendment that would have FOUR simple provisions:
- If the Congress fails to pass a budget by the due date, plus a 30 day extension, then the last year’s budget automatically becomes the new budget for the next year.
- If Congress fails to pass the budget ALL the sitting members of the House of Representatives shall be deemed to have retired on that date with all their compensation to cease on that date with the loss of any and all retirement benefits they might then hold.
- If the House passes a budget they remain in office ONLY IF the Senate ALSO approves it. If the Senate fails to approve the budget after the normal reconciliation process, then all Senate members are similarly deemed to have resigned with a similar loss of all remuneration along with the House of Representatives.
- A Special Election will then be held within 90 days for 435 new members of the House and all 100 Senators. None of the retired members may ever run again in a Federal election.
When and if such an amendment becomes law, it is safe to say we will ALWAYS thereafter have a budget ON TIME!
If such amendment were to become law, failing to pass a budget would be a dark day for our country, but it would be particularly disastrous for all the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, where all budgets originate. Therefore the real risks of that happening are essentially moot.
God knows what compromises would have to be made to pass a budget, but that is the most basic JOB of the Federal legislature. Congress is paid to produce a budget and, if they cannot do their job, they had better be prepared to take up another line of work. It’s just simple common sense!
With the current state of mind in the country, there easily could be enough pressure to push through such an amendment in a year or less, as was the case with the 26th Amendment granting voting rights at age 18 in 1971.
In the meantime, it will be fun to see the cage rattle!