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Mr. STUTZMAN. Thank you, Mr. Goodlatte, and thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the time that we can come to the floor and talk about this important issue.
I think it's an opportunity for us here in Washington to do something that changes the direction of our fiscal condition in Washington, D.C., and our Federal Government.
As we all know, the economy has been very difficult for families across this country in so many different ways. And people have realized and have made tough decisions within their own budget, whether it's a family budget, whether it's a business budget, and realize that the economy and the difficulties that we face today are forcing decisions to be made that are sometimes difficult, are not sometimes the choices that we'd like to make.
But as the Federal Government continues to spend and spend money that we don't have, money that we're borrowing--40 cents for every dollar that we spend is borrowed money--I believe that this is a time for us to let the people speak, let the American people speak on an issue that is a principle that is so foundational for our family budgets, our business budgets, what should be a very basic principle for our government in the way that we operate, and that is a balanced budget amendment.
This is a historic opportunity. It could also have historic consequences. I believe that if we do not rein in Federal Government spending and save the American Dream, we will, in effect, determine the future of our great country. It is just very simple, and I believe that as we take this time to talk about the balanced budget amendment, whatever version people support in this Chamber and across the Hall in the Senate, I believe that we have to have some basic principles, basic concepts that we can all agree on.
How can we not agree on saying that every year Congress passes a budget it's going to be balanced? It is just common sense.
I come from a State that has a balanced budget amendment, Indiana. And we have a balanced budget. And now I know the temptations that have come across the State legislature in Indiana to pass budgets that are out of balance.
But if we have that anchor here in Washington that says we have to pass a balanced budget, that we cannot continue to borrow and spend, that is what's going to keep Washington in check.
Our Constitution is the bedrock of our experiment in self-government. It is a remarkable document. Libraries have been written on its importance and its legal application, but we cannot forget that the wisdom our Founding Fathers built in the Constitution is timeless and they're very simple truths.
People give the government its power is one of those. Government exists to protect our God-given rights. Men are not perfect, so neither is our government. So it must be limited, checked, and balanced.
Our great Nation rests on these principles. If we still believe in those principles, we must recognize another simple but profound truth: good government must live within its means.
So that's why I believe the balanced budget amendment to our Constitution is crucial at this time. When we face $15 trillion of debt, we're handing off and saddling our children and every person in this country $48,000 of debt per individual. Unemployment has held steady at historic high rates. Confidence is declining, and Washington, like a spoiled child, continues to talk about tax increases and stimulus programs that just do not work.
I believe we owe it to our generation, to future generations, to pass a balanced budget amendment to our Constitution that requires the Federal Government to live within its means just like every American family and just like businesses across this country that are going to move this economy forward.
I thank the gentleman from Virginia for his efforts with the balanced budget amendment, and I am proud to stand here today and support it; and I believe this is a great opportunity for Congress to stand with the American people. This is our opportunity, and we must not fail.
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