Colo. rep. reintroduces his borrowing bill

U.S. House passes debt limit extension

WASHINGTON – If the House of Representatives’ vote Wednesday to extend the country’s legal borrowing limit through mid-May can be considered a Band-Aid solution to a fiscal crisis, then U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn is hoping his bill will be a long-term cure.

Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, reintroduced his Budget Before Borrowing Act on Tuesday, a bill that would require both houses of Congress to pass a budget before raising the debt ceiling.

Lamborn’s bill, assigned to the House Rules and Budget committees, is very similar to the “No Budget, No Pay” legislation passed by the House on Wednesday, said Lam-born spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen, but has no specific time frame.

Lamborn’s bill was first introduced last year, with a companion bill in the Senate, but neither made it out of committee before the 112th Congress ended earlier this month.

“It has been nearly four years since the Senate passed a budget. With the Senate missing in action on this most critical duty, it is no wonder spending is out of control in Washington,” Lamborn said in a news release. “My bill would require both bodies to pass a budget before even considering another debt ceiling increase.”

The Democratic-led Senate last passed a detailed budget blueprint in 2009, according to The New York Times.

The “No Budget, No Pay” bill stipulates that members of Congress in both houses cannot be paid unless they pass a budget by April 15, a deadline required by law. It was adopted 285-144, and means the government can continue to borrow money to meet its spending commitments until mid-May.

Colorado’s Republican representatives all voted for the bill, as well as Democratic Rep. Jared Polis of Boulder. Reps. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, and Ed Perlmutter, D-Golden, voted against it.

“If you fail to do your job in the private sector, you don’t get paid. The same should be true for Congress, and that’s what this commonsense bill does,” Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, said in a news release. “It gives Congress three months to pass a budget, or else members will not be paid. We cannot continue to raise the debt limit without serious spending cuts that put our country’s fiscal future on a sustainable course.”

Tipton said he voted against the so-called “fiscal cliff” legislation earlier this month because it did not address spending reform.

Senate Democratic leaders have said they would accept the House bill without changes, The Washington Post reported, and it likely will come to a vote.

Colorado’s senators have not yet said if they will vote for or against the bill when it comes to the Senate, but both want long-term solutions rather than short-term extensions, their spokesmen said.

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., also voted against the “fiscal cliff” legislation, saying he wanted more meaningful deficit reduction.

Stefanie Dazio is a student at American University in Washington, D.C., and an intern for The Durango Herald. Email sdazio@durangoherald.com.