Legislation introduced by U.S. Congressman Scott Perry (PA-04) this week would make the federal government more effective and efficient stewards of taxpayer dollars.
Congressman Perry's legislation (H.J. Res. 36) seeks to adopt a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Forty-nine states currently are required annually to balance their budgets. To secure passage of a constitutional amendment, a bill must pass the House and Senate by a two-thirds vote. Then, three-fourths of all state Legislatures must ratify the amendment.
"Hard-working American families and businesses know what it's like to live on a budget," said Congressman Perry. "They make difficult decisions to live within their means every day, and Washington should have to do the same. It's time to have an honest conversation with all Americans about the drivers of our debt, including mandatory government spending like health care costs."
This legislation takes into account the House Budget Committee's assumption that the budget will balance in ten years. However, Congressman Perry will ensure that this is not accomplished on the backs of taxpayers by requiring a three-fifths vote in the House and Senate to raise revenue. While numerous Balanced Budget Amendments already have been introduced, Perry's contains a provision that eventually would bring spending down to the lowest it's been in 60 years. This legislation also places additional pressure on agencies to justify their funding and find waste in their departments.
"It's time to ensure that all of your hard-earned tax dollars are spent effectively and efficiently," said Perry. "Washington currently is spending $27 million to train Moroccans to create pottery designs and $325,000 on robotic squirrels to test their interaction with snakes. We need to be straight with the American people about the pork in our budgets and long-term drivers of our debt. We need a balanced budget to foster a healthier economy and help create jobs."
The federal government has run up an unsustainable debt of $16.7 trillion and rising. Currently, nearly forty-six cents of every dollar we spend is borrowed -- most of it from China. There is bi-partisan consensus that America's safety net and retirement security programs will go bankrupt in the coming decades if we don't take action. A balanced budget amendment would protect seniors, who depend on the benefits they've earned and our children, who can't afford the crushing debt with which we are burdening them.