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Tuesday February 28, 2012 | 01:37 PM

Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe says lawmakers don’t deserve to be paid if Congress fails to decide on time each year how to spend taxpayers’ money.

The Maine Republican said today she backs a “no budget no pay” bill that would withhold lawmakers’ paychecks if annual budget and spending bills aren’t finished by Oct. 1, the start of the federal fiscal year. Paychecks would stop after Oct. 1 and would not resume until the bills are completed. Members would not get retroactive pay.

Snowe is one of just seven senators who back the measure, including its author, Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada.

“It is only logical that members of Congress should not be paid if they aren’t doing their job properly,” Snowe said in a statement. “This timely legislation is a clear signal to the American people that Congress understands it has lost their trust, and needs to actively work to regain it.”

For years, Congress has been slow to pass annual spending bills and often doesn’t approve an overarching annual budget at all.

The only other Maine lawmaker to back the legislation is Rep. Mike Michaud, D-2nd District, one of 31 supporters of a companion bill in the House.

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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