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House GOP floats new debt-ceiling deal, with strings attached

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Obama's press secretary, Jay Carney, hit a similar note, saying "Congress must pay its bills and pass a clean debt limit increase without further delay."

"No budget, no pay" legislation also has to jibe with the 27th Amendment to the Constitution, which restricts lawmakers from altering their own pay until after the next election. As No Labels wrote last year about the measure: “If Congress doesn’t act in 2012, a No Budget, No Pay law could not take effect until 2015 at the earliest.”

And finally, the proposal is no guarantee of good congressional behavior. Individual lawmakers have little control of the budget, and richer members of Congress (and powerful interest groups) could use the legislation as leverage over their less-well-off peers, as Norm Ornstein, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote in March.

But mostly, it would play to Americans’ lowest assumptions about what drives members of Congress.

“It is pandering of the worst sort, playing to voters’ worst instincts about Congress,” Mr. Ornstein wrote. “Given the fact that campaigns for Congress are now focused on trashing the character and integrity of the candidates, with the mud level rising after Citizens United, and given the punishing lives members of Congress lead, it is a wonder now that we get any serious, problem-solving individuals to take on the task.”

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