“We’re on a high-speed train heading for a fiscal cliff”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) spoke on the House floor in support of H.J. Res. 2 proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Rep. Newhouse is a cosponsor, and the legislation was not approved by the House today on a vote of 233-184 because it required a two-thirds majority. In order for Congress to consistently make the tough decisions necessary to control spending, elected representatives need the external pressure of a balanced budget requirement. H.J. Res 2 would provide that external structure through a Constitutional amendment, ratified by the states. Specifically, H.J. Res 2 would mandate that Congress not spend more money than it receives in revenue. This amendment would also require a true majority in both the House and Senate to pass a tax increase, along with a three-fifths supermajority requirement to raise the debt limit.
I rise in strong support of the Balanced Budget Amendment offered by my friend and colleague, Congressman Goodlatte. Reining in the federal debt is not a partisan issue. In fact, the majority of Americans are united in consistently supporting a requirement to balance the federal budget. Our national debt has surpassed a record $22 trillion—you have heard that several times today. That is more than $64,000 for every man, woman, and child in this country. It’s more than $174,000 of debt for every U.S. taxpayer. If we continue to let this number grow, we continue to dig a deeper hole for our children and our grandchildren. Since I came to Congress in 2015, I have worked to ensure the government does not spend above its means. I have cosponsored several resolutions in support of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to balance the budget, and am proud to be an original cosponsor of this legislation that we consider today. In the 114th Congress, my colleagues and I offered an amendment to the Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act, requiring the Secretary of the Treasury to appear before Congress and submit a report with solutions to control the national debt before raising the debt ceiling. I have also consistently voiced my strong concerns with fiscally irresponsible spending packages, as I did earlier this year with the deal to bust our budget caps and send our nation further into debt. Mr. Speaker, we are on a high-speed train heading towards a very large fiscal cliff, and, soon, it may be too late to slow this train down. This insurmountable debt threatens our nation’s economic and national security as well as future generations. The people of this country and of Washington’s 4th Congressional District demand better and expect their representatives to promote fiscal responsibility. Over 20 years ago – when the federal deficit was at $5 trillion – a balanced budget amendment failed by a single vote in the U.S. Senate. It is time to put a stop to the federal government’s out-of-control spending and use our authority in Congress to prioritize spending. This Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution is a great step in the right direction.