This past Wednesday, the United States passed an infamous milestone: Our federal debt reached $15 trillion.
Unlike you and me -- and millions of our fellow Americans -- the federal government doesn't have to balance its budget. In fact, since 1960, the federal government's annual budget has been balanced only six times.
Clearly, there's a difference of opinion in Congress, where some of my colleagues believe we can borrow and spend our way out of our economic problems.
Such actions are reckless and ineffective -- as the recent past has shown us. The government dumped enormous amounts of money into the sinkhole that our economy had become in hopes it would stabilize the country's finances and get people back to work.
Since President Obama took office in 2009, discretionary spending has increased 84 percent -- and the federal debt has gone up $4.3 trillion. Today, for every dollar the federal government spends, it borrows about 42 cents.
The economy is still sputtering, and the jobs we need so desperately haven't materialized.
We need no further proof that this smoldering problem won't be smothered by piling on borrowed money.
Deficit spending is sacrificing the future of our children and grandchildren. They deserve better. We owe it to them to fix this problem. We must end out-of-control spending. The answer is a balanced-budget amendment.
A balanced-budget amendment would legally constrain us from spending more money than we collect in revenue. It would eliminate legislative chicanery and accounting gimmicks from the budgeting process.
A balanced-budget amendment would also provide job creators with a better sense of the economic environment in which they can expect to conduct business, thereby encouraging investment and expansion.
Late last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on H.J. Res. 2, legislation proposing a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. I supported this legislation by co-sponsoring it -- and voting in favor of it.
Unfortunately, it was rejected -- mostly along partisan lines -- by a vote of 261-165. Although the majority of House members favored it, the legislation fell more than 20 votes short of the super majority of two-thirds needed for passage.
If it had passed, Ohio and other states would have had the final say over whether to amend our U.S. Constitution to require a balanced federal budget.
I'm confident that residents of Southern Ohio share my view that the only solution to our nation's economic problems is fiscal discipline.