Keith Rothfus’ bill to stop paying members of Congress when they have failed to pass a budget and the appropriations bills is an old idea that would not be effective (“Congress Must Meet Deadlines,” Jan. 28 Perspectives), because it does not stop the real flow of money.
To be effective, he should introduce a bill that prohibits acceptance of campaign contributions and all campaign expenditures when the appropriations bills are past due. Not allowing campaign money to change hands will decrease a member’s chances of re-election, providing a great incentive to get the appropriations done.
Additionally, a mechanism is needed to keep the members in Washington and off the campaign trail. Therefore, the House should meet on Saturdays and Sundays when the appropriations bills are overdue. On those days, the minority leader should set the agenda. The speaker and majority party will have demonstrated by then that they are unwilling to put forward appropriations that will pass, so the minority leader should be given a chance.