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Public Statements

Proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CHABOT. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, our national debt has reached a staggering $15 trillion. We're currently borrowing 43 cents on every dollar that's spent here in Washington. Think of it, 43 cents on a dollar. A trillion dollars had to be borrowed from China. Our very sovereignty is at risk when you look at numbers like that. It's outrageous.

Our great Nation is on a dangerous path of fiscal irresponsibility directed by a reckless addiction to spending here in Washington. Research has consistently shown that the American people want a balanced budget amendment. In fact, a recent survey found that 81 percent of those polled support the requirement that the Federal Government balance its budget each year, just like American families have to do.

Today, each of us will have the opportunity to choose sides, casting an ``aye'' vote and standing with the American people on this issue, or casting a ``nay'' vote and opposing what the American people are demanding.

The balanced budget amendment is a game-changer. It will hold Congress' feet to the fire, forcing us to live within our means just as every American family and every American business must do every year. It has become commonplace for Washington to spend money it doesn't have for projects it doesn't need. This is an unacceptable position for us to be in. Our constituents deserve better.

Washington's spending binge has put a wet blanket over our economy. Small businesses are struggling to stay afloat, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a staggering 26 million Americans are unemployed, underemployed, or have given up looking for a job altogether.

Small business owners tell me that the uncertainty that they're going through right now makes it so they won't hire people because they don't know how much money they're going to have. What we're doing here in Washington puts those small businesses at risk. That's why they're not hiring.

Passing H.J. Res. 2, the balanced budget amendment, would be a huge step in the right direction, and in my opinion is the only thing that will actually work over the long run to get our spending under control here in Washington.

You know, it's interesting. The President recently weighed in on this, and one of the things that he said about the American people is that they're lazy. I mean, what an incredible comment to make. That's absolutely not true. That's not what the problem with the economy is. The problem is that the government sector is sucking up so much of the funding now that the private sector has no funds to invest or go out and hire people and create jobs. That's the problem, not, as the President said, that the American people are lazy. That's absolutely not true. It's outrageous.

This is not a Democrat or a Republican issue. This is an American issue. I had the opportunity to weigh in on this amendment back in 1995, when it was last voted on here in Congress. I voted for it, alongside most of my Republican colleagues as well as 72 Democratic Members of the House. I would urge them to vote with us today. Let's pass this. It's in the interest of the American people.


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