U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) today voted in favor of a balanced budget amendment which would have amended the Constitution to prohibit federal spending in any fiscal year from exceeding revenue for that year. Lummis released the following statement:
"This week, the national debt surpassed $15 trillion and it continues its climb. The total U.S. debt has exceeded the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) for the first time since World War II. Our national debt-to-GDP ratio rivals countries like Ireland, Portugal and Greece -- which are all facing sovereign debt crises. Each American man, woman and child now owes more than $48,000.
"Despite the unequivocal proof that America's fiscal ship is headed toward insolvency, today's vote is evidence that some in Washington still believe that America does not need a balanced budget amendment. It is long past time Washington gets its head out of the sand. Congress has proven time and again that it cannot restrain its addiction to spending. The balanced budget amendment is our country's best bet to rein in out-of-control federal spending. I will continue to fight for it."
H.J. Res. 2 failed by a vote of 261-165. If approved by a two-thirds majority of each chamber of Congress and ratified by three-fourths of state legislatures, H.J. Res. 2 would have amended the Constitution to prohibit federal spending in any fiscal year from exceeding receipts for that year.
The balanced budget requirement could be waived in a given year if three-fifths of both chambers approve a law to allow spending to exceed revenues. In addition, the amendment would require a vote of three-fifths of both chambers to increase the statutory debt limit. The amendment would also require the president to submit a balanced budget to Congress each fiscal year and would require a majority vote of Congress to increase taxes. Under the amendment, the balanced budget requirement could be waived for any fiscal year in which a declaration of war is in effect or in any year that the U.S. is "engaged in military conflict which causes an imminent and serious military threat to national security and is so declared by a joint resolution, adopted by a majority of the whole number of each House, which becomes law."