NASHVILLE - U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said today he will join as a co-sponsor of the "No Budget, No Pay Act," which would deny funding for Congress in the future if members fail to pass a federal budget on time.
"I decided to do so because I think it's a serious proposal that deserves support, and I'm going to do everything I can to make it become law," said Alexander, the state's senior senator.
Noting someone can't get paid at the Grand Ol' Opry "if you don't show up and sing," Alexander said "the same should be true if you don't do your job" in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House.
U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., is sponsoring the House version of the bill.
Alexander said he had tried to work with Democrats in getting all 12 appropriations bills through in time for the Oct. 1 start of the federal fiscal year.
But he blamed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for postponing all action on the separate spending bills until after the Nov. 6 election when a lame-duck Congress returns to Washington.
The Senate closed down Saturday after sending President Barack Obama a six-month spending bill that ensures the government won't shut down Oct. 1, the start of the new budget year.
The measure passed early Saturday by a 62-30 vote - and then lawmakers left town with many of them going home to campaign.
Alexander made his comments in a teleconference call with Tennessee reporters.