This week, I plan to introduce legislation that will call for a Constitutional amendment that would require Congress to pass a balanced budget for the federal government each year. This legislation is similar to a bill I have previously co-sponsored, H.J.Res. 1, which is introduced in nearly every Congress. However, the amendment I will introduce makes exceptions for Medicare and Social Security. In my opinion, these exemptions could make the proposal more appealing to Members of Congress from both parties and bring us closer to our ultimate goal of reining in government spending.
When I travel across the district, the concern I hear most after creating jobs and boosting the economy is getting government spending under control and balancing the federal budget. Though this is a simple concept to many people, government has too long forgotten that it must follow the same rules that Alabama families follow and not spend what it doesn't have.
The legislation I will introduce is part of a larger fiscal reform effort by members of the Blue Dog Coalition in the House of Representatives. Balancing the budget is a component of the plan, which also includes provisions such as freezing federal spending, reorganizing the federal government, cutting wasteful and duplicative government programs, enacting statutory pay-go, and creating a bi-partisan fiscal commission. I'm proud to say that several of these proposals have already been signed into law.
A Constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget has long been a priority for fiscal conservatives, but despite significant support, has not become a reality. I believe my amendment has a better chance to pass both the House and Senate and then make its way to the states for ratification.
Constitutionally requiring Congress to balance the budget is the true lynchpin for restoring fiscal responsibility to government. I will urge my colleagues to swiftly consider the measure.
Extending Job-Producing Tax Relief
The first bill I sponsored last year- and one of the first bills offered by a freshman member of Congress- extended small business tax deductions for capital expenses. H.R. 361 allowed small businesses to deduct a greater amount of capital expenses in 2009 and also provided those businesses an additional bonus depreciation in the first year those expenses occur. The legislation was eventually included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
This week, I will reintroduce this legislation to extend the tax cut for 2010. It is important to keep this tax relief on the books because it allows small businesses, which create up to 80% of new jobs, to retain and grow jobs even in a recession. Without this legislation, businesses will have less of an incentive to buy new equipment, build new facilities, or invest in new technology, all of which help to create new jobs. In fact, President Obama cited the need to extend this tax cut in his recent State of the Union address.
Our small businesses are suffering in this economic climate and they need all the help they can get. This is commonsense and proven legislation that will continue to aid in our economic recovery. I will be urging the inclusion of this legislation in any jobs package that the House or Senate will consider in the coming weeks.
As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call our offices in Montgomery at (334) 277-9113, Dothan at (334) 794-9680, Opp at (334) 493-9253, or Ozark at (334) 445-4600. You can also visit the website at www.bright.house.gov to sign up for the e-newsletter. It is my great pleasure to serve you and the entire Second District of Alabama.