Nov 18 2011
U.S. Congressman Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) today supported the passage of H.J.Res. 2, a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. If passed, the Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) would have legally required the federal government to live within its means by ensuring that spending does not exceed total revenues. The vote on the amendment failed to achieve the required two-thirds majority support necessary for a constitutional amendment. The final vote tally was 261-165.
“We simply cannot continue to mortgage our children’s future with reckless big-spending, big-government policies. A Balanced Budget Amendment will begin to hold our federal government accountable and put in place a framework to stop the spending,” stated Rogers, an original co-sponsor of H.J.Res. 2. “Forty-nine states, including Kentucky, and families around the country, balance their checkbooks every month making tough decisions to make ends meet. Unfortunately, some of my colleagues are refusing to make hard choices and own up to our need to rein in out-of-control Washington spending. Americans recognize we can no longer wait and must begin to work together to change the financial direction of our country.”
Balancing the budget is not a new idea. For the first 140 years of America’s history, the federal government followed an unwritten rule that budgets should be balanced. Today, however, the United States has accumulated $15 trillion in debt, including $3.7 trillion under President Obama’s watch. This is the fastest increase in debt under any U.S. President in history. For every dollar spent, the federal government is borrowing 42 cents and unfairly burdening future generations. Today, 74 percent of Americans support passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment.
Specifically, H.J.Res. 2 stipulates that Congress may not spend more money than received, while also making tax increases or raising the debt ceiling more difficult in the future. A Constitutional amendment must pass with the support of two-thirds of the House (290 votes) and the Senate (67 votes) before it is sent to the states for ratification. Three quarters of the states must ratify the amendment before it becomes a part of the U.S. Constitution. In 1995, with Rogers’ support, Congress came very close to passing a balanced budget amendment with bipartisan support; however, the amendment fell just one vote short in the Senate. Since then, the national debt has increased over $9 trillion dollars.
Rogers has served Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District since 1981. As Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, he is a strong voice in Congress for fiscal responsibility and reducing the scope and size of government in order to get the U.S. economy back on track and create jobs for the hard-working people of Kentucky. Through his leadership, Congress has cut real federal spending by over $40 billion this year alone. For more information, visit www.halrogers.house.gov.