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Public Statements

Proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. FLEMING. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I've listened carefully to the debate today, and I've listened to the other side.

Mr. Speaker, this body is hopelessly addicted to excessive spending and budget deficits--hopelessly. On the other side, those who argue that we should not have a balanced budget amendment are hopelessly in denial, just like drug addicts are in denial about their addictions. We have 535 Members, if you include the Senate, who compete with one another to see how much money we can spend, and we have an executive branch that does the same. Republican or Democrat--it doesn't matter--we all do the same thing. There is absolutely no control--or governor, if you will--on our excessive spending.

Let's put this in perspective.

In the 235 years since the founding of this great country, we have added $10.6 trillion to the national debt. In the 2 1/2 years of this Presidency, we have increased that by 50 percent, an addition of $5 trillion. We just passed the $15 trillion debt level. At the current rate--and this is not just a projection; this is set in stone--by the end of the first term of President Obama's, we will have increased the national debt by 70 percent. This is just in that one term of 4 years.

Mr. Speaker, we cannot do this based on our willingness to balance the budget. We are incapable of doing that. We are addicted to spending. We are in denial about this, and it's time that we do something. I stand in support of H.J. Res. 2, a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Frankly, I would like to see a more restrictive form, a more severe form that controls the possibility of added taxes, but I will vote for this.

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Mr. FLEMING. Just in closing, I would like to say that it does some wonderful things.

It prohibits a debt increase without a three-fourths vote, and it requires the President to submit a balanced budget each year. Our Senate over there has yet to pass a budget resolution in 3 years. It also provides for a waiver in a time of war.

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Mr. FLEMING. In conclusion, let me say, when I talk about our being addicted to spending, I'm talking about everyone in Congress and the executive branch. I am not pointing fingers at any one group of people. I will say that those who are unwilling to do something about it, by supporting a balanced budget amendment, are in a clear state of denial.

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