February 04, 2021
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) joined Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and 14 of their colleagues in reintroducing a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring the President and Congress to enact annual balanced budgets.
“While we can’t relent in the fight against COVID-19, as we continue to recover and find a new normal, we have to start prioritizing our long-term fiscal responsibility as a nation,” Senator Inhofe said. “I am glad to cosponsor Sen. Hyde-Smith’s Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which requires the president to submit and Congress to enact annual balanced budgets. It just makes sense—and protects our country’s future for our children and grandchildren.”
“A balanced budget amendment to the Constitution would compel our nation’s leaders and the American people to make difficult choices to get our fiscal house in order,” said Senator Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee.
“Our national response to the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated federal spending at a rate that compounds our already serious debt problems. The new deficit spending is a necessary answer to a national health emergency, but it would be completely irresponsible not to establish a strong framework from which to tackle our nation’s long-term fiscal problems—and ultimately the future of this great country,” she said.
The legislation proposes a constitutional amendment that would:
· Require the President to submit a balanced budget
· Require Congress to pass a balanced budget
· Restrict federal spending to 18 percent of the Gross Domestic Product
· Require two-thirds majority votes in the House and Senate to raise taxes
· Require a new three-fifths majority vote in both houses of Congress to raise the debt limit
· The joint resolution also includes certain spending waivers for use during wartime or imminent danger to national security.
Original cosponsors of the Hyde-Smith measure also include U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.).
“Wyoming balances its budget every year – it’s time for Washington to follow Wyoming’s lead. A balanced budget amendment would ensure that Washington is constitutionally obligated to avoid the reckless overspending of the past. Congress and the president are using budget tricks to spend money we simply don’t have,” Senator Barrasso said. “As America recovers from the pandemic, it’s time to begin the long road to our country’s financial recovery by balancing each and every budget coming out of Washington.”
“It’s time for Washington politicians to get this country's house in order and stop treating Americans’ hard earned tax dollars like an ATM,” said Senator Blackburn. “Fiscal spending must be targeted and temporary or our economy will suffer.”
“Every American family and business has to balance their budget every single day, and Congress shouldn’t behave any differently,” said Senator Capito. “It can be a challenge even in normal times, let alone during a pandemic. Out of respect for the sacrifices and decisions families and businesses across West Virginia have to make, I strongly believe Congress should enact annual balanced budgets. Throughout my Congressional career, I have sponsored and voted for adding a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. I am doing so again in the hopes we accept the responsibilities so many Americans face daily.”
“I have long supported a balanced budget amendment as an essential means to control the nation’s exploding debt,” said Senator Crapo. “The Covid-19 pandemic has stifled an otherwise healthy and growing economy, and extraordinary spending measures were necessary to keep small businesses open, American families afloat and resources for health care flowing. However, mandatory spending and entitlement programs account for nearly three-quarters of our national debt, and continue running unchecked and on autopilot. I support measures to reform these programs, as well as efforts like this balanced budget amendment, to establish frameworks to rein in spending and address our nation’s fiscal health in the long-term.”
“To ensure that our nation is fiscally responsible, Congress must stop budgeting crisis to crisis. Families in Nebraska and across the country have to make difficult decisions about their own budgets, and it is far past time for Congress to do the same,” said Senator Fischer.
“Each year when I was Governor of North Dakota, I had to balance the budget, and we should have to do the same in Washington D.C.,” said Senator Hoeven. “The balanced budget amendment would provide a commonsense outline to ensure that future budgets are responsible and fund our national priorities while holding the line on spending.”
“The rapidly growing national debt is a threat to our future, and with the necessary spending for pandemic relief, the threat has become more severe,” said Senator Tillis. “The need for a balanced budget has never been more timely, and I urge Congress to take up this legislation so that taxpayer dollars and the nation’s future fiscal health are handled responsibly.”