Scott Bomboy writes at Constitution Daily:
The debate over the “No Budget, No Pay” debt-ceiling deal has some people saying the proposed act is unconstitutional because of the 27th Amendment. But what happens if Congress passes a law that can be successfully challenged?
Any such challenge could take years in the appeals process as it heads to the Supreme Court and would possibly happen after the current 113th Congress has concluded its business.
The No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013 was passed last week in the House and extends the debt ceiling into May. Senate leaders and President Obama had said previously they would support the measure.
As part of the deal, pay for Congress members will be placed in an escrow account if an official budget isn’t approved by April 15, 2013.
After that date, if the House or Senate doesn’t approve a budget, the pay for the chamber in violation gets put aside until a budget is approved, or the current Congress ends in January 2015, and the money is released.
The 27th Amendment says that “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.” It was approved in 1992.
Some critics argue that by putting its pay on hold, Congress is “varying” its pay and directly violating the 27th Amendment, since a sitting Congress can’t change its own compensation. At the very least, they say, the law can’t take effect until the next Congress is seated in 2015.