Hatch Outlines Need for Balanced Budget Amendment Today
On Senate Floor, Utah Senator Says, “All 47 Republican members of the Senate are of one mind on the need for a Balanced Budget Amendment. We have listened to our constituents who are pleading with us to take action that will permanently resolve our debt crisis and keep us from getting into this situation again.”
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, continued his push for a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) to the Constitution – leading a group Senate Republicans in a floor debate and participating in a news conference calling for the enactment of a Balanced Budget Amendment to confront the nation’s over $14 trillion debt. Hatch is the lead sponsor of the BBA that has the backing of all 47 Senate Republicans.
On the Senate floor this morning, Hatch said, “The American people are demanding that Congress debate and pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. They are going to get that debate, and I am confident that if Congressmen and Senators listen to their constituents, the citizens of this nation are going to have the opportunity to ratify a Balanced Budget Amendment this year.”
Hatch continued, “All 47 Republican members of the Senate are of one mind on the need for a Balanced Budget Amendment. We have listened to our constituents who are pleading with us to take action that will permanently resolve our debt crisis and keep us from getting into this situation again.”
Click HERE to watch the Senator Hatch's Speech.
Below, is the full text of Senator Hatch’s remarks:
Mr. President, today we are beginning what might prove one of the most consequential debates in our nation’s history. The American people are demanding that Congress debate and pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.
They are going to get that debate, and I am confident that if Congressmen and Senators listen to their constituents, the citizens of this nation are going to have the opportunity to ratify a Balanced Budget Amendment this year.
All 47 Republican members of the Senate are of one mind on the need for a Balanced Budget Amendment. We have listened to our constituents who are pleading with us to take action that will permanently resolve our debt crisis and keep us from getting into this situation again.
That situation is a disaster. We all know the numbers. Three straight trillion dollar plus deficits.
Over $14 trillion in debt. $62 trillion in total liabilities.
Since Senate Democrats last passed a budget — over 790 days ago — our national debt has risen by $3.2 trillion, and now the Administration is asking for more. We can’t do this anymore!
100 percent of our tax revenues are spent on mandatory spending and interest on the debt. Every other penny is borrowed. The money is simply not there to finance a government of this size.
Everyone knows this, though not everyone will admit it. They know that deficit spending and skyrocketing debt have to come to an end.
Our nation’s current debt-to-GDP ratio is 95 percent. Countries with debt above 90 percent of GDP have growth that is 1 percent below normal, resulting in a loss of 1 million jobs.
Our debt is a lead weight around the neck of the economy.
But in the current negotiations over the debt limit, the Administration insists that it is Republicans, who — by refusing to pass an increase of the debt limit that does not include meaningful efforts to address our fiscal situation — are holding back the economic recovery and undercutting the stock and bond markets.
This has things exactly backward.
The markets understand that our long-term deficit projections are moving toward a full-blown debt crisis. The markets understand that we are currently on the glide path to Greece. And the markets would respond like gangbusters to spending cuts, spending caps, and a Balanced Budget Amendment that brings our long term fiscal problems under control.
I am more convinced than ever that a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution is essential if we are to right our fiscal ship. This is not the first time that we have been down this road.
But the stakes could not be higher this time.
And the amendment could not be better designed to address the crisis. Our amendment is not just an amendment for fiscal balance. It is an amendment that takes on the root cause of our current debt crisis — government spending.
Our amendment requires a balanced budget. It establishes a spending cap of 18 percent of GDP. And it establishes supermajority requirements for tax increases or future debt limit increases.
We will hear a number of tired arguments against the BBA.
Its opponents will say that the amendment is not properly vetted. But we have been talking about the BBA for decades, and if we had passed it in 1997 — when it fell one vote short of being sent to the states for ratification — we would not be in the mess we are in today.
They will say that it stacks the deck by requiring spending cuts rather than tax increases to balance the budget. This is an issue that I will address at length, but the American people understand that the solution to a spending crisis is not to give government more money to spend.
They will say that a Balanced Budget Amendment is unnecessary. Congress just needs to do its job. But we have heard this before, and the American people know that waiting for Congress to balance the budget and shrink the size of government without a constitutional amendment is less fruitful than waiting for Godot.
They will say that the spending cuts required as a result of this BBA will hurt children and the elderly. But the real harm to children will be when we hand them a future of national indebtedness and dim economic prospects. And the real harm to the elderly will be the coming bankruptcy of the nation’s entitlement programs, the guaranteed result of the President’s failure to lead on entitlement reform.
And finally they will say that the Constitution should not be amended. I agree that it should not be amended lightly. But the Founders themselves expected that changing circumstances, and national emergencies, would demand amendments to the Constitution from time to time.
The American people understand that this is one of those times. In this country the people are sovereign. The Constitution is their Constitution. And they are demanding that Congress pass a Balanced Budget Amendment and send it to them and the states for ratification.
My hope is that the party of Thomas Jefferson will listen to their constituents and follow their founder’s lead, keeping faith in the people and their good sense and stewardship over the Constitution.
Later this summer we will vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment. God willing, this fall the people in the states will start down the road to ratification.
I am proud to be joined this morning by several of my colleagues, who have been critical leaders on the Balanced Budget Amendment. Each brings a unique perspective to this debate, and I think it is great that they are standing up to lead on this issue.
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