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Public Statements

Balanced Budget Amendment

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CHAMBLISS. Madam President, I rise today in full support of a balanced budget amendment. I am proud to be a cosponsor of S.J. Res. 10, along with all of my fellow Republicans.

Shortly, the Senate will vote on two proposals for balancing the Federal budget. One of those proposals, offered by my colleague from Utah, Senator Hatch, will provide a strong and meaningful change to the way this Congress performs it spending function.

I thank the Senator for his continued hard work on trying to balance the budget, something he has been working on since 1995. Unfortunately, he, like all of the Members of this body, has seen the recent and disconcerting rise in debt.

It is appalling that we continue to head down a path to destruction and fiscal lunacy. The American people are fed up with this. How do we know that? Recent polls say that only 9 percent of the population believes in the spending path Congress has chosen.

For the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, we had in excess of $1.3 trillion in deficit spending. In November of this year we surpassed $15 trillion in total debt. This rampant overspending will not end without a drastic change--without taking away the power to overspend.

Not only have the American people told us this, our financial markets have told us this as well. Unbearable debt in the European markets is depressing our domestic financial markets. If left unchecked our own debt will continue to lower economic outlook.

It is reprehensible that an issue of this magnitude and significance is subject to the partisan bickering and gamesmanship that often rears its head in politics.

I encourage my colleagues to give solemn consideration to the proposal before us, as it will turn us immediately away from our overspending.

We have to truly examine issues that are very difficult for a lot of us to deal with, and we have to make some very tough decisions.

Too frequently, we have engaged in political theater instead of earnest efforts to resolve these long-term budget issues. The American people expect and deserve an honest budget debate and an honest budget process. When we pass this legislation and it is ratified by the States, the American people will finally get an honest budget, and they will get it every year.

As many of my colleagues have noted, the idea of preventing a burdensome and crushing debt for future generations is a thing of the past. The time is now. The crisis is now. Congress has been shirking its budget responsibilities for so long that we are now the ones feeling the effects of the debt.

I would like to take a moment to talk about some of the things the Republican proposal accomplishes. The President will continue to submit his yearly budget proposal--a budget proposal that is not only balanced but limits the size of the Federal Government to 18 percent of GDP. By comparison, last year spending was at almost 24 percent of GDP.

Further, this legislation requires a supermajority to surpass the spending caps for things like emergency spending. We will end a longstanding budget gimmick of government spending in the name of emergencies for things that are not truly emergencies.

The rules would be even stricter governing spending of money in times of
war instead of the general exemption we have now. This proposal will also force Congress to fix and save Social Security.
Finally, one of the most important parts of this proposal is that a two-thirds vote of each House is required to increase taxes, helping prevent higher tax rates to pay for balancing the budget.

We can no longer allow the American people to suffer by not providing the economic basis for recovery and growth. The equation is simple: A balanced Federal budget that is free of excessive debt leads to a healthy economy and sustainable job-creation activities.


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