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Public Statements

Proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. DAVIS of Illinois. A balanced budget amendment to the Constitution represents bad economics and bad social policy. The ability to borrow to help our States and citizens is a critical tool to aid our Nation during economic crisis.

One of the most egregious consequences of this bill is the dangerous cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and other safety net programs that would result. Given the vast deficit that exists due to reckless tax cuts for the wealthy, this bill would achieve balance on the backs of the elderly, the poor, and the disabled.

To achieve balance in the short term, massive reductions to critical safety net programs would have to occur--$750 billion in cuts from Medicare, $1.2 trillion from Social Security, and $85 billion from veterans' benefits through 2021. Dramatic cuts to other safety net protections for citizens, such as food stamps and supplemental security income for the disabled, poor, and the elderly, would almost certainly occur.

To add insult to injury, nonpartisan economists with Macroeconomic Advisers estimate that a balanced budget amendment would eliminate 15 million jobs, increase unemployment to 18 percent, and shrink the economy by 17 percent--catastrophic economic losses at the same time that Federal safety programs to support citizens experiencing such hardships are eviscerated.

This is a terrible piece of legislation. It's a bad bill. I could not, would not, and I don't think anybody should vote for it.


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