Starting the New Fiscal Year
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Yesterday was October 1st. The beginning of the new federal fiscal year. Did you miss it?
So did Congress. October 1st is the date by which Congress is supposed to have passed the 12 individual appropriations bills that fund the federal government’s discretionary spending programs.
How many did Congress pass by October 1st?
None. The House managed to pass six bills out of its chamber and the Senate Appropriations Committee passed all but one (the full Senate did not take up any of those bills), but as two separate bodies coming together to agree on spending priorities for fiscal year 2013, Congress failed.
Not surprising since Congress could not even agree on a broad budget outline this year. (To see more about what went wrong, check out our appropriation’s timeline.)
Instead, Congress passed a six-month continuing resolution that increases spending by 0.6 percent, or $8 billion.
One member of the House of Representatives responded to Congress’s continued failure to pass a budget by proposing a bill to cut legislator salaries. In The Atlantic in July, Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) explained his bill: “If taxpayers want better results from Congress, they must stop paying their elected officials for failure. After all, you get what you pay for. That’s why I’ve introduced a bill called No Budget, No Pay. It’s not your typical congressional reform. It is the first effort to pay Congress for performance, the way that an increasing number of doctors, teachers, corporate executives, athletes, and other professionals are paid. The bill, H.R. 3643, is so simple that it sells itself. If Congress fails to pass a budget and all 12 appropriations bills by the beginning of each fiscal year, October 1, congressional pay will stop.”