Let's Stop Paying Congress If We Default

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One of the truisms of the current Congress is that it's almost impossible to get it to act (productively) without some kind of forcing mechanism. And even with default looming, the prospect of Congress taking action to raise the debt ceiling seems iffy. But Rep. Jim Cooper, the Blue Dog Democrat from Tennessee, has just introduced a measure that I think would go a long way toward concentrating congressional minds on the task at hand: Cooper's "Stop Pay For Members Act" would prevent lawmakers from drawing a paycheck in the event of default and -- this is key -- would not pay them retroactively once the ceiling was raised. "Failure is not an option," Cooper said in a statement. "But, if default occurs, another paycheck for congressmen and senators should not be an option either."

Sounds fair to me.


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Joshua Green is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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