Driven by years of reckless, irresponsible spending by both parties in Washington, our nation is now facing a dire debt crisis that is stifling job creation in the Fifth District and threatening the very future of our country.
Central and Southside Virginians understand the importance of this issue.
I continually hear from my constituents-- Republicans, Democrats and independents -- who say that if we are serious about turning our economy around and if we are serious about preserving this country for our children and grandchildren, we must put an immediate end to Washington's spending spree.
Given the seriousness of our current fiscal situation and the habit of those in Washington to routinely choose the politically expedient course over what is in the best interest of our nation, I believe we need to take bold action and put in place a balanced budget amendment to rein in out of control spending once and for all.
Our staggering debt figures illustrate the urgent need for change. Unchecked government spending has led to a $14 trillion debt that nearly equals the size of the entire U.S. economy, a $1.5 trillion deficit, our nation borrowing more than $4 billion a day and more than 40 cents on every dollar we spend, and every American citizen owing $46,000 to our creditors.
Congress' abysmal record of fiscal mismanagement demonstrates that institutional spending reforms must be adopted. The current discussion in Washington over the president's request to increase our nation's debt limit is a timely reminder of the federal government's consistent disregard for fiscal discipline. Since World War II, Congress has voted to raise the limit on the national debt 69 times, enabling the spending status quo to continue without cutting spending. And as the passage of the failed nearly trillion-dollar "stimulus" proved, Washington will quickly cast aside any spending pledges or statutory caps under the guise of "emergency spending," pushing our nation further along on a careless spending binge.
The only effective way to control spending now and in the future is through an amendment to the Constitution that would legally bind Congress and the president from spending more on annual budgets than the government takes in-- a balanced budget amendment. That is why the House of Representatives is leading the way, building on our record of cutting government spending by holding a vote on a balanced budget amendment in the coming days.
As an original co-sponsor of this measure, I believe that a balanced budget amendment would help change Washington and get our fiscal house in order by forcing the federal government to live within its means just as families, businesses, and state governments-- including Virginia-- do all across the country. It would return certainty to our fiscal policy, which would provide our job creators with the confidence necessary to hire and expand. And it would stop the crushing burden of debt from being passed on to future generations.
It is my hope that for the sake of our children and grandchildren, Republicans and Democrats in both chambers will come together, pass a balanced budget amendment, and make the right choice for our nation's future.