We Must Balance The Federal Budget


By:  Bob Goodlatte
Date: July 8, 2011
Location: Washington, DC

The Congress continues to face serious budgetary challenges and it is time we take control of spending instead of letting it control the Congress. In recent years, federal spending has increased at an unsustainable pace, allowing our national debt to spiral out of control. Trillons have been spent on bailouts and stimulus packages to help grow our economy, but all it has done is increase our debt and the size of the federal bureaucracy while leaving our nation's unemployment rate hovering around nine percent. Federal spending must be brought under control, in order to create American jobs and grow our economy.

In the coming days the House will consider legislation I introduced on the opening hours of the 112th Congress which requires the federal government to balance its budget. A balanced budget amendment would help put an end to deficit spending because Congress would no longer be allowed to spend more than it takes in. With forty-nine out of fifty state governments, including Virginia, required to balance their state budgets, people are amazed that the federal government is not restrained in this way and strongly support a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The House will consider my legislation, H.J. Res. 1, which is a three part balanced budget amendment, 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 2/3 majority; and (3) establish an annual spending cap such that total federal spending could not exceed 18% of the economic output of the United States.
As annual deficits and the resulting debt continue to grow due to political pressures and dependency on government programs, we must make the tough choices and control spending. We must also enact institutional reforms such as passing a balanced budget amendment that will bind the federal government's hands and cut up its credit cards once and for all.

We are at a crossroads in America. The fact that Congress is once again debating raising the nation's debt limit shows that we need to cut spending now. Congress has not been restrained by the same realities that American taxpayers face. When you are preparing a budget for your family, you know that you can't spend more than you take in. It's a simple concept but one that Congress has failed to adhere to for far too long. We must balance the budget and reduce the deficit and the debt by being good stewards of taxpayer money. A balanced budget amendment to the Constitution is the only way to ensure that Congress curtails its spending on an annual basis regardless of which party is in control.

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