Skip to content

No Budget, No Capitol Subway?

The House passed its No Budget, No Pay Act on Wednesday — a bill intended to punish members of Congress by withholding their pay in escrow if neither chamber meets the April 15 deadline to pass a budget. And while many in Congress are fervent supporters of this incentive, some pesky constitutionality issues surround the provision.

But have no fear! The great minds behind HOH have come up with alternative punishments that not only would withstand constitutional muster, but likely would be worse for members of Congress because they are consistently among the top earners in the country. (We’ve seen those personal financial disclosure forms, Congress.)

Without further ado, here are HOH’s Alternative Punitive Measures:

1. Five-Day Workweeks: No more rolling in on a Tuesday and skipping town Thursday (or Wednesday in the House’s case this week) to get home for the weekend. Bonus aspect: If members were here for five entire business days each week, it might be easier to come up with a sound budget to pass.

2. Take the Greyhound Back to Your District: The days of paying the government rate for plane tickets and ending up in first class would be over. Members far and wide would be crowded into the relative discomfort of the masses’ transportation of choice. For members from Hawaii, Merchant Marine cargo ships could be tapped for the final leg home.

3. The Great Outdoors: No more taking the Capitol Subway or tunnels from your office to votes. Imagine the outdoor walk on a day like Tuesday or Wednesday from the farthest reaches of Rayburn to the House chamber. Brrr.

4. Loss of Members-Only Privileges: Members-only elevators? Gone. (Sorry Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C.) And the members-only gym? Shuttered. Time to shell out for Results or Washington Sports Club. Smoking in your office? Nope. Head outside with the reporters and Europeans.

Now that the bill has passed the House, we at HOH encourage the Senate to consider these constitutionally sound punishments for a lack of action on the budget. HOH is sure they’d have a motivational effect on Congress to get some work done. Have ideas of your own on how to punish Congress? Drop us a line in the comments section of this story’s blog post at and let us know how you’d make Congress suffer!