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Public Statements

Proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. Respectfully, Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, it does not reduce the gap between racial minorities and the majority population.

My next question, there's a gender gap in our society. Women earn 76 cents to the dollar of what men earn in our society.

How does the balanced budget amendment close the gap between what women earn in our society and what men earn in our society?

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Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. Respectfully, Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, the balanced budget amendment does not close the gap between women who earn 76 cents to the dollar of what men make, because only the Federal Government in the 50 States can close the gap between what women earn in our society and what men earn in our society.

How does the balanced budget amendment close the economic gap between the rich and the poor in our society?

I yield to my friend from Virginia.

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Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. Reclaiming my time, the failure of this balanced budget amendment to not make any distinction between the rich and the poor is part of the fallacy and the problem with the balanced budget amendment.

We are here as representatives of the people to close profound gaps that exist between our constituents and the society. We're supposed to be one America. We're supposed to be all Americans. We're supposed to be one people, e pluribus unum, through many, one, going somewhere. But what I'm hearing from the distinguished chairman is that the gaps will not close.

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Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. I would be happy to yield to the gentleman controlling time for the majority.

Infrastructure gaps, upgrades to roads in communities that have been left behind, bridges, ports, levees, water and sewer systems--how does the balanced budget amendment propose to close the infrastructure gaps that exist in our society where the States themselves have failed to do so?

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Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. Reclaiming my time, I must assume, then, there is no goal of the balanced budget amendment to actually close the infrastructure gap.

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Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. Reclaiming my time, it is obvious that the balanced budget amendment does not narrow the economic, social, gender, and generational gap and infrastructural gaps in our country.

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Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to H.J. Res. 2--the Balanced Budget Amendment.

We do need to responsibly reduce our budget deficits and debt, but the best way to do that is by investing, building and growing our economy--or through balanced economic growth--not a Balanced Budget Amendment.

What is the most important question to be raised with respect to the BBA?

We have serious gaps in our society that need to be narrowed: Economic gaps between the rich and the poor--ask the 99%; social gaps between racial minorities and the majority population; gender gaps--women earn 76 cents of what men earn; generational gaps--will Social Security be there for the next generation?; and infrastructure gaps--upgrades to roads, bridges, ports, levees, water and sewer systems, high speed rail, airports and more in order to remain competitive in the world marketplace.

So the most important question is this: How does the BBA narrow these economic, social, gender, generational and infrastructure gaps? It won't! It will exacerbate them!

The BBA will permanently establish the United States as a ``separate and unequal'' society!

The BBA will balance the federal budget on the backs of the poor, the working class and the middle class.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Citizens for Tax Justice says the BBA would: Damage our economy by making recessions deeper and frequent; heighten the risk of default and jeopardize the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government; lead to reductions in needed investments for the future; favor wealthy Americans over middle- and low-income Americans by making it far more difficult to raise revenues and easier to cut programs; and weaken the principle of majority rule.

Before we affirm a BBA, we need to consider our future--not just the future of America's debt, but America's future. Do we want a future that is bright with promise? A future with innovation? A future with the best schools, the brightest students, and the strongest and healthiest workers? Do we want to continue to lead the world?

My answer is ``yes.''

Madam Speaker, I respectfully urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this irresponsible and short-sighted amendment.

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