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Public Statements

Proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. VELÁZQUEZ. I thank the gentleman from New York for yielding.

I rise in strong opposition to this misguided amendment which will visit harm on working families, prevent government from responding to crises, and cripple the U.S. economy.

Under this amendment, it will become difficult to raise the debt ceiling, putting our country at greater risk of default. It is alarming that so shortly after averting the most recent danger of a default, the authors of this amendment will endanger our Nation's credit so directly.

Equally disturbing, should a war, domestic crisis, or natural disaster strike, our government could find its hands tied, incapable of responding swiftly. When crises occur, Congress must have the flexibility to respond.

It is shortsighted and dangerous to cede this authority from the legislative branch. Not only will this amendment effectively slow our response to future catastrophe, but it will also undercut our current economic recovery, eliminating 50 million jobs.

The fact is, if you like 9 percent unemployment, you will love this amendment.

Mr. Speaker, our government has in the past been able to balance its books and create surplus. When President Clinton left office, we had a $5 trillion surplus. However, an unprovoked war, unpaid for, coupled with tax cuts for the wealthy erased this windfall and led to our current fiscal problems. If we truly wish to tackle the deficit, the most effective thing we could do is create new jobs.

In the 1990s, economic prosperity helped drive deficits down. Rather than wasting this institution's time on a cheap political stunt which has zero chance of becoming law, we should create opportunity and work to restore the American dream. That is a deficit reduction plan all of us could support.

Vote down this misguided amendment.


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