NO BUDGET, NO PAY No one is foolish enough to think a proposal to cut off lawmakers' pay if they can't pass a budget blueprint will actually pass, but the very fact that the idea even had an official hearing in front of a Senate panel speaks to the level of frustration. The proposal sounds simple: If Congress doesn't pass a budget and the 12 accompanying spending bills necessary to set agency budgets on time, lawmakers would not get paid. The last time Congress passed a budget was more than 1,000 days ago, back in 2009. Even without an actual budget, follow-up legislation setting agency appropriations can still go forward because the annual congressional budget resolution is a nonbinding measure. But it's frustrating for everyone involved lawmakers and members of the public alike that Congress doesn't seem to be able to accomplish one of its essential goals, and misses deadline after deadline with little or no consequence. We don't expect lawmakers to punish themselves with a "no budget, no pay" law, but they wouldn't have to discuss such things if they would simply perform essential aspects of their job in the first place.