Sixteen years ago, Congress failed to pass a balanced budget amendment by a single Senate vote. At that time, the national debt was approximately $5 trillion. That solitary vote resulted in our nation adding almost $10 trillion to the debt in the years since.
For those who were confident that Washington could show self-restraint without legal force, this has been an extremely expensive lesson. Both Republicans and Democrats alike are guilty for the hefty tab on our national credit card. And unfortunately, it is one that our children and our grandchildren will be forced to pay.
Now, America is in a full-blown debt crisis. Bipartisan budget analysts have warned that our nation is rapidly approaching a level of debt that will completely halt our economic growth.
Even so, the President's budget proposal has our national debt increasing to an unspeakable $20.3 trillion dollars by the year 2020 -- and its projections include literally never-ending deficits. This is a path that I refuse to take.
Like a family that digs themselves into a financial pit, it is time for the United States to spread its expenditures out on the table and go through them line by line -- eliminating everything that is not absolutely necessary.
But first, we need to cut up the credit cards.
As long as Washington still has access to money, the federal government will continue to burn through it. And if there are any loopholes, we all know that they will be found and exploited.
To attack this issue head on, I authored my Balanced Budget Amendment. It is designed to be an ironclad solution to halt the outrageous spending in its tracks. It also includes more secure defenses against tax increases or spending loopholes than any other bill; it requires a 2/3 majority to raise your taxes and an actual Declaration of War to allow any deficit spending.
While America stands on shaky financial ground today, we can reclaim the economic growth and security of the past -- but only if we take the most aggressive measures starting right now. Join me in telling Congress that now, more than ever, we need to get back to fiscal sanity and a balanced budget.