This week brought alarming news when it comes to the fiscal health of our nation. On Wednesday the national debt hit the $15 trillion mark. This insurmountable debt is the result of irresponsible spending bills that will most certainly cripple America's future. One thing is certain -- we must change the way Washington does business.
Today the House of Representatives held an historic vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, legislation which I introduced on the opening day of the 112th Congress. This vote was the first time in 16 years that the House of Representatives has considered such a measure and it was the direct result of the priorities of the American people.
The American people, who overwhelmingly support a balanced budget amendment, have repeatedly asked Congress to put partisan politics aside and work together to ensure a bright fiscal future for our country. They know that a balanced budget amendment to our Constitution is a vital piece of any common-sense solution to our nation's fiscal woes.
House Republicans heeded that call and put politics aside by bringing the bipartisan H.J.Res. 2, which is supported by a majority of the House of Representatives, to the floor for a vote. Unfortunately, the House Democratic Leadership put politics over principle and worked hard to defeat this important legislation, which requires that total spending for any fiscal year not exceed total receipts and is the same legislation that passed the House of Representatives in 1995 and fell one vote short in the Senate. This vote should not have been about politics. It should have been about what is right for our nation. While H.J.Res. 2 received the largest Republican vote in history for any balanced budget amendment and it had the support of dozens of Democrats, it was not enough to reach the necessary two-thirds threshold.
Despite this vote I remain as committed as ever to passing a balanced budget amendment. It is a simple concept -- you can't spend more than you take in. Business owners, individuals and families all across this country understand this concept and live by it in their own lives. They should expect nothing less from the federal government and yet Congress continues to prove it cannot make the tough decisions on its own. We must rein in the skyrocketing deficit spending that is discouraging investment and threatening to bankrupt our nation.
It will take real institutional reforms, such as passage of a balanced budget amendment, to ensure that Washington's insatiable appetite for spending is brought under control. Rest assured that this vote will not be the end. I intend to continue working across the aisle to build even more support for this much needed Constitutional amendment. It is the only way to ensure that Congress curtails its spending on an annual basis regardless of which party is in control.