A Balanced Budget – From Bob Goodlatte

A Solution to the Perpetual Debt Problem

March 2, 1995, was a pivotal day in the history of our country. On that day, the U.S. Senate failed by one vote to pass a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution. The amendment had passed the House of Representatives by the required two-thirds majority and the Senate vote was the last legislative hurdle before being sent to the states for ratification.

In 1995, when the balanced budget amendment came within one vote of passing, the gross federal debt stood at $4.9 trillion; today it stands at over $17.5 trillion. If Congress had listened to the American people and sent that amendment to the states for ratification, they likely would have approved it and we would not be facing the debt crisis we are today. Balancing the federal budget would be the norm, instead of the exception over the past 20 years, and we would have nothing like the annual deficits and skyrocketing debt we currently face.

Families in the Sixth District understand what it means to make tough decisions each day about what they can and cannot afford and government officials should be required to exercise similar restraint when spending the hard-earned dollars of our nation’s citizens. A balanced budget amendment to the Constitution would once and for all require Congress to rein in this out-of-control behavior.

Just a few weeks ago, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing to examine the balanced budget amendment as a constitutional solution to America’s debt. Several versions of the balanced budget amendment have been introduced, including two I introduced on the first day of the 113th Congress.

We are at a crossroads. We can make the tough choices to control spending and pave the way for a return to surpluses and paying down the national debt, or we can continue further down the road of chronic deficits, leaving future generations with crippling debt that is not of their own making. Our extraordinary debt demands an extraordinary solution. We must rise above partisanship and join together to pass a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution. Read my full weekly column here.