U.S. Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement after voting for a Senate amendment to require a balanced federal budget:
"This nation needs a balanced budget requirement because Congress was given a $236 billion surplus in 2001, then irresponsibly squandered it in a matter of months. Unlike previous balanced budget proposals, this responsible amendment requires a balanced budget while protecting seniors, Social Security, and middle-class families.
"But no Montanan should believe that simply voting for a balanced budget amendment will solve the problem at hand. It is time for Congress to work together and actually make the tough decisions required to responsibly cut spending and cut our debt. I'm ready for others to join me in tackling this critical challenge."
Tester supports the framework of the bipartisan debt commission to cut spending and cut the deficit.
Tester has always supported a balanced federal budget, but opposed plans like the House of Representatives' recent "Cap, Cut and Balance" bill, which would have balanced the budget by forcing deep cuts to Medicare to protect tax breaks for millionaires.
The balanced budget amendment Tester supported:
* Requires the federal budget to be balanced each year unless 3/5 of the Senate and the House agree to waive it for national emergencies, such as a terrorist attack or severe flooding.
* Requires the President to submit a balanced budget every year
* Allows the requirement to be waived if the U.S. declares war.
* Protects Social Security in a "lockbox" that prevents Congress from raiding it to balance the rest of the budget.
* Prevents income tax breaks for Americans earning more than $1 million each year, unless the federal budget is in surplus.