Lisa Murkowski Backs Withholding Congressional Pay If Congress Can't Pass Budget

04/02/2013 01:29 pm ET

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said on Monday that she supports withholding federal lawmakers' pay if they fail to pass a budget according to a report by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Murkowski made her comments during a town hall meeting with U.S. Army civilians in Fairbanks. One attendee asked the senator if she believed congressional pay should be performance-based. Murkowski said she did.

"I can’t exempt myself and say it’s everyone else that’s been doing it; I’ve got one vote there," she replied.

In February, President Barack Obama signed the No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013, a measure that would have escrowed pay for lawmakers beginning April 16 if a budget for the 2014 fiscal year was not passed in both chambers. (The law did not require the House and Senate to reconcile their budgets, nor for the president to sign a budget bill.)

The act was part of a deal to raise the amount the government can borrow until May 18. Murkowski was one of 64 senators and one of only 12 Republicans to vote in favor of the bill. The measure was passed by the House without the help of nearly three dozen Republicans.

The escrow was ultimately avoided, as the House passed Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) controversial budget in March, and the Senate passed its first budget in four years only two days later. The two have not come together to agree on a single plan, however.

Congressional pay has come under scrutiny lately, as many have questioned why federal workers' pay is being cut under sequestration but lawmakers' salaries remain intact.

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