Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.), senior Senate Republican on the Joint Economic Committee, today supported a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would force the government to balance its budget, limit the growth of federal spending and require supermajorities for tax increases. Coats supported identical legislation in the 112th Congress.
"Hoosier families and businesses balance their budgets every year and it is time Washington is forced to do the same," said Coats. "America is in a fiscal crisis because for too long our country has spent money we do not have and operated without a budget. Passing a balanced budget amendment is one step toward reining in out-of-control spending and getting our financial house in order."
In 1995 and again in 1997, Coats voted for a balanced budget amendment to set limits on spending and require the federal government to balance its checkbook. Each time the Senate came one vote short of the two-thirds required to pass the amendment.
"If this amendment had passed and been ratified by three-fourths of our states, I believe we would not be faced with the financial challenges that exist today," added Coats.
When the amendment failed in 1997, the national debt stood at $5.36 trillion. Today the national debt is over $16.5 trillion and climbing.
The Balanced Budget Amendment:
Mandates that total budgetary outlays for any fiscal year not exceed total revenues.
Caps federal spending at 18 percent of GDP.
Requires the president to submit a balanced budget to Congress every fiscal year.
Requires a two-thirds supermajority for any new tax, any increase in tax rates, or any bill that is a net revenue-raiser.
Requires a supermajority to raise the debt limit.
Allows for waiver of budget limits if there is a formal declaration of war, if the U.S. is engaged in a military conflict constituting a threat to national security, or if two-thirds of both the House and Senate approve.