Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, released the following statement after reintroducing two Constitutional amendments to balance the budget in the opening minutes of the 113th Congress. Congressman Goodlatte previously introduced the balanced budget amendment in the 110th, 111th, and 112th Congresses:
"When I introduced these bills two years ago, the national debt had topped an unprecedented $14 trillion," said Congressman Goodlatte. "Today, the national debt has soared well past a staggering $16 trillion. This rapid increase in debt and four consecutive trillion dollar plus budget deficits are clear signs that Washington has a serious spending problem.
"Our first Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, warned of the consequences of out-of-control debt when he wrote: "To preserve [the] independence [of the people,] we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude.' A balanced budget amendment to our Constitution will once and for all require Congress to rein in this out-of-control behavior."
My balanced budget amendment is a commonsense measure that requires that Congress not spend more than it receives in revenues, requires the President to submit a balanced budget to Congress, and requires a 3/5 majority vote to increase the debt limit, while also providing an exception in times of national emergencies. A Constitutional amendment will force Congress to eliminate unnecessary and wasteful spending and make the decisions necessary to balance the budget and eliminate the federal deficit. Currently, forty-nine out of fifty state governments, including Virginia, have a balanced budget requirement. Last Congress, this version of the balanced budget amendment garnered 261 votes when it came before the House of Representatives, but fell just short of the necessary two-thirds majority vote.
"Our federal government must be lean, efficient and responsible with the dollars that our nation's citizens worked so hard to earn," Goodlatte continued. "We must work to both eliminate every cent of waste and squeeze every cent of value out of each dollar our citizens entrust to us. Families all across our nation understand what it means to make tough decisions each day about what they can and cannot afford and government officials should be required to exercise similar restraint when spending the hard-earned dollars of our nation's citizens. We must not leave the next generation saddled with debt that is not their own."
In addition, Congressman Goodlatte introduced another Constitutional amendment that has three parts. This resolution would (1) amend the Constitution to require that total spending for any fiscal year not exceed total receipts; (2) require that bills to raise revenues pass each House of Congress by a 3/5 majority; and (3) establish an annual spending cap such that total federal spending could not exceed 1/5 of the economic output of the United States. The bill would also require a 3/5 majority vote for any increases in the debt limit.
Both pieces of legislation will be referred to the House Judiciary Committee of which Congressman Goodlatte serves as Chairman.