Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 1, 2015

Democratic Senator Proposes Banning Recess Until Congress Adopts Balanced Budget

balanced budget John Walsh

Walsh wants senators to stop going on recess until they pass a balanced budget. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman Sen. John Walsh introduced a bill Thursday that would block congressional recesses until there’s an agreement on a budget resolution that balances within a decade.

Walsh was appointed in February to fill the unexpired term of fellow Montana Democrat Max Baucus, who resigned from the Senate to become ambassador to China.

“Montana families don’t leave work before the job is done, and Congress shouldn’t get taxpayer-funded trips back home until they’ve addressed the national debt,” Walsh said in a statement. “This is the issue I hear most about from Montanans and I’m sure our neighbors across the country agree that Congress must solve this issue before going back home to ask their constituents for votes. What’s more, we have to responsibly address this issue, which means I won’t allow cuts to Medicare, Social Security and other programs that serve our most vulnerable Americans.”

The key portion of the bill says that from enactment forward, there would be no recesses of either chamber until such an agreed upon balanced budget resolution takes effect:

(a) IN GENERAL.— During the period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act and ending on the date specified in subsection (b), neither the Senate nor the House of Representatives may recess or stand adjourned for a period of longer than 24 hours.

(b) BALANCED BUDGET AGREED TO.— The date described in this subsection is the date of enactment of a concurrent resolution on the budget that establishes a level of deficit of $0 or a surplus by not later than fiscal year 2024.

Walsh’s bill, of course, has virtually no chance of seeing the light of day, let along becoming law.

Senate Democrats have dismissed the idea of advancing a budget resolution this year, since the bipartisan budget agreement hammered out between House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., set levels that allow appropriators to craft the fiscal 2015 spending bills.

Walsh’s bill, which is being billed as the “Do Your Jobs Act,” also would impose new reporting requirements for official travel by members of Congress, directing them to submit annual travel budgets by the time that the president’s budget is supposed to be released.

Walsh, the former lieutenant governor of Montana, is running for a full term in November. That race is rated Tilts Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

  • drthomasedavis

    The first decent idea from a Senate Democrat since “Iron” Mike Mansfield served. Sen. Walsh has the proper idea and reasoning. Stay in Washington, do the job and then, if necessary, take a ‘short’ recess.

  • Yonatan YONATAN

    There are more than 2.6 million unemployed workers without benefits since late last December. While the Republican Senate has made delay after delay, and have taken senate break, after senate break, these poor families have been left hung out to dry, without any means to live, and support their families. There is really a TRUE CRISIS here, which needs our attention and action. The Republicans must STOP holding the Extension Bill “Hostage” in the senate, and PASS the much needed bill to help these poor families in need. Many of these families have faced eviction, home foreclosures, bankruptcy, and homelessness. Lives are being ruined, along with these people’s credit rating. The Republicans should not use these families for “political Leverage”, and bargaining chips. They are using the XL Pipeline Bill in exchange for passing the extension bill. Where are their party’s so called” family values”??

  • independent thinker

    I never thought I’d ever say this, but here’s a Democrat I think I could actually vote for. Sounds like good ole common sense and reason to me…doing the job they were sent to DC to do and treating the Federal budget like ordinary Americans have to do with their own money. This is the kind of thing Democrats used to be about when I was growing up…but, alas, that was a long time ago.

  • Derrick Rows

    Floyd Corkins, a domestic terrorist impelled by the SPLC, was recently sentenced to 25 years in prison for his violent domestic terrorist attack in Washington, DC:

  • michaelW1966

    I agree with him. However he won’t get elected to a full term this November

  • govskeptic

    What a both phony and silly idea brought for the simple idea of getting re-elected
    to a position he was “appointed”. Not another single Democrat would vote with
    him for such a measure. In fact if it came up for a real vote he would vote no also.

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