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Why, after all these years, the Senate is working on a budget (+VIDEO)

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The idea caught on. The Senate held a hearing in March 2012 and Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," among others, covered it. The House did not take up the proposal, but the veteran House chair who punted on holding a hearing on the measure was narrowly defeated in November by a Democratic challenger who campaigned on “no budget, no pay."

In January, House Republicans included a revised version of the measure as a sweetener in the debt-ceiling deal that suspended enforcement of the $16.4 trillion limit through May 19. The No Budget, No Pay Act passed Jan. 23 on a bipartisan vote, 285 to 144. The Senate passed the House bill on Jan. 31.

Now, if the House or Senate fails to pass its own budget resolution by April 15, pay for members will be held in an escrow account until (1) a budget is passed, or (2) the end of the 113th Congress in December 2014.

Senate Republicans say that’s the reason that Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada gave the nod to the Budget Committee to mark up a budget this week and take it to the floor.

“ ‘No budget, no pay’ made so much sense, they just couldn’t think of an argument against it,” says Sen. John Cornyn (R) of Texas. Senate Democrats dispute that view. (See No. 3.)

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