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Public Statements

Proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. POSEY. Well, first I will comment on the value of buying homes on credit. I think it's a pretty good idea; but when you go to get qualified for a home, the rule of thumb is that you should buy a home roughly not more than 2.5 times your annual income. If you compare that to our known debt of $15 trillion, our revenues of about $2.2 trillion, you would see that if our debt was a home loan, it would be 14 times our annual income. No lender would loan you money under those circumstances; they would say you are bankrupt far beyond any possibility of recovering. And that doesn't include the $60 trillion unfunded liabilities for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. So I don't know if that was really a very good analogy.

Now, to my point, there is an old political axiom that says that anytime you promise to steal from Peter to pay Paul, one thing usually happens: Paul votes for you. Total revenues, as I just said in answer to the chairman's question, are about $2.2 trillion; total expenses the Federal Government spends, $3.6 trillion.

Where does the money come from? Rather than balancing our budget like every hardworking American family, 49 other States, and virtually every local government in the country, Congress instead currently puts about 40 percent of every what has been described as ``vote-buying'' dollar it spends on our kids' and our grandkids' credit cards, to the point where each American family's share of the national debt is about $125,000--actually, in excess of $125,000. It will be hard to stop the spending. It will be like taking drugs away from an addict.

Since Congress--Republicans and Democrats--has not shown the political will to be accountable, I believe a voter-mandated, balanced budget constitutional amendment is the only hope this country has to preserve the American experiment at representative self-government. And I urge Members of this body to begin thinking about the next generation instead of the next election.


Mr. POSEY. Madam Speaker, nearly every State in the union is required to balance its budget each year, including my home State of Florida. Our counties, cities, school boards and special districts are all required to make financially responsible decisions with the hard-earned tax dollars of Florida's working families and small businesses.

It is long past due for Washington to do the same, which is why the Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is one of the first bills I cosponsored as a new Member of Congress in 2009.

For 235 years, the United States has been the greatest economic success story the world has ever known. Yet, the most significant threat ever to our continued success is our unprecedented and rapidly growing national debt. From 1776 to 2008, Washington accumulated a debt of $10.6 trillion. Yet in just the last 3 years alone, another $4.4 trillion in debt has been added for a grand total of $15 trillion and counting.

Washington doesn't just have a spending problem. It has an insatiable addiction to spending money it does not have and it is threatening our children's future. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff called it the greatest threat to our Nation.

The last time the House voted on and passed a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution--back in 1997--the national debt stood at $5.4 trillion. That year the Balanced Budget Amendment fell just ONE VOTE short of passage in the Senate. It's something I like to call ``The Ten Trillion Dollar Vote.''

So, you might ask: How do these gigantic numbers relate to the American taxpayer? Because of Washington's failure to control spending, each and every taxpayer's share of the debt amounts to $130,000. It gets worse. On our current path, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the national debt will reach $23 TRILLION in 2015. That's $200,000 in debt per taxpayer. This must change.

The American people were promised in 1997 that Washington would balance the budget without a Balanced Budget Amendment. Given what we now know, it's ridiculous to believe that Washington will balance the budget and begin paying down the debt without the requirement of a Balanced Budget Amendment.

Future generations of Americans deserve to live with the same opportunities we have had. Burdening them with this unprecedented debt load is immoral and unthinkable. Only by passing a Balanced Budget Amendment can we eliminate their greatest threat to success and guarantee them the same opportunities that we have had.

I urge my colleagues to support the Balanced Budget Amendment and set our Nation on a more financially responsible and stable course.

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