By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
WASHINGTON, DC—Wednesday, January 4, 2017, balanced budget amendments were introduced in both Houses of Congress. US Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) introduced legislation proposing a constitutional amendment that would require Congress to have a balanced budget in an effort to reduce our nation’s mounting debt, which has increased from $10.6 trillion to more than $19 trillion under President Barack Obama. US Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives.
In a statement, Shelby said, “The idea behind a balanced budget amendment is simple: The Federal government should be required to do what hardworking Americans do every day – balance a budget.
“A $19 trillion debt is simply unsustainable and will place a heavy burden on our children and grandchildren if we do not take steps to reverse this irresponsible course. I’m pleased to once again introduce this common sense policy that would reduce wasteful government spending, restore confidence in our economy, and foster job growth.”
The bill is the first piece of legislation introduced by Congressman Byrne in the 115th Congress, which officially convened on January 3rd.
“I thought it was important and fitting for my first bill introduced in the 115th Congress to be a balanced budget amendment,” Byrne stated. “With the national debt over $19 trillion dollars, it is no secret the Federal government has serious spending issues, and I believe a balanced budget amendment is the best way to ensure responsible budgeting.
“Requiring balanced budgets is not a far flung idea. Already, most states are required to have a balanced budget, and families and small businesses face the challenge of living within their means every single day. The Federal government should have to play by the same rules in order to restore fiscal sanity in Washington.”
A balanced budget amendment would have to be passed by Congress and ratified by three-fourths of the states. According to Shelby, his balanced budget amendment would require that the total amount of money spent by the United States during any fiscal year, except during times of war, not exceed the amount of revenue received by the United States during the same fiscal year, and not exceed 20 percent of the gross domestic product of the United States during the previous calendar year.
Byrne’s amendment would require that the President submit a balanced budget proposal to Congress each year.
Senator Shelby has introduced similar legislation in every Congress since taking office. Byrne introduced a similar bill at the start of the 114th Congress in 2015.