“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”-Gandhi

Mark McKinnon triumphantly quoted the Oxford educated founder of India in a letter to the community this week touting one of the brighter pieces of news that came his way., the organization run and co-founded by Nancy Jacobson & Mark McKinnon, pushed for and succeeded in getting Sen. Joe Lieberman to hold a hearing Wednesday March 14th on the “No Budget, No Pay Act”, that requires a budget to be passed before any legislator receives any pay or benefits for their services as US Congressman. No Budget, No Pay would be a significant victory for No Labels and for the public because it would represent a reversal of a the traditional relationship in which decisions made inside the Beltway impact the pocketbooks of the nation at large.

On Tuesday, 20,000 people listened in to a town hall teleconference with Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels who also stated his endorsement for “The No Budget, No Pay Act”.

This kind of breakthrough, in the commidy of our leaders, is a great example of what groups like and can do when people unite for a cause. The more pressure the people mount on legislators to push for legislation that has broad bi-partisan support, the better and more efficient our Federal and State Governments can and will be. No Labels has been advocating for bi-partisanship, with support from Coffee Party USA, as part of a 12 step plan to making congress work again.

This law, if enacted, will apply some much needed economic pressure on our Federal Legislators to break the gridlock that has hampered our economic recovery and our country’s forward momentum to update our nations infrastructure and technology. has proposed the following 12 step plan to get our leaders to work together again:

Breaking Gridlock
1. Members of Congress will be docked pay for each day that they fail to pass the budget and all appropriations bills for the next fiscal year before the prior fiscal year ends.

2. All presidential nominations for executive and judicial positions must be confirmed or rejected within 90 days after the Senate receives the completed nomination.

3. Fix the filibuster: If senators want to halt action on a bill, they must take to the floor and hold it through sustained debate; end filibusters on motions to proceed to debate.

4. Empower the sensible majority by reforming House and Senate procedures to fast-track legislation with majority support.

5. Change the congressional work schedule so that Congress can get the American people’s work done.

Promoting Constructive Discussion
6. Institute a regular “question period” that brings Congress and the president together.

7. Institute an annual report to a joint session of Congress on America’s fiscal condition, coordinated and delivered by a high-ranking non-partisan official such as the Comptroller General.

Reducing Polarization
8. Members of Congress should be bound by no pledges except the Oath of Office.

9. Institute monthly nonpartisan gatherings in each chamber (off the record).

10. Eliminate partisan seating in all joint meetings or sessions and on committees and subcommittees.

11. Form a nonpartisan Congressional Leadership Committee.

12. Incumbents of one party should not conduct negative campaigns against members of the opposing party, but members are free to campaign in support of candidates from their own party. (Open seat elections would be exempted.)

The No Budget, No Pay Act is a crucial step in the right direction to achieving these goals. As Gandhi’s words stand true, they are fighting, and we the American people will win.

-Cameron Michaels