By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
It has been over a decade since America last had a balanced budget and barring something bizarre happening……like President Barack Obama minting his own $trillion coins (something that is actually being seriously discussed in Washington)….we are entering our fifth year in a row where the federal government will spend over $one trillion more than it takes in in taxes, tariffs, fees, oil royalties, fines, and other sources of income. U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R) from Montgomery is tired of the reckless spending and is introducing a balanced budget amendment.
Roby’s measure would constitutionally prohibit Congress and the President from spending more than the nation can afford. If passed and ratified, the Roby Amendment would require Congress to annually pass a balanced budget and finally force the federal government to live within its means. Rep. Roby’s amendment also requires that the President submit a balanced budget to Congress on time before each fiscal year.
Rep. Roby said, “Hardworking, taxpaying Americans balance their family budgets every month. But, for the past four years, they’ve watched the federal government over-spend by more than $1 trillion. We’re $16 trillion in debt. It’s past time Congress and the President were Constitutionally required to balance the budget. A Balanced Budget Amendment would restore the fiscal common sense that regular Americans employ every day. It would also provide economic clarity and confidence for a country still struggling to create jobs.”
Congressman Spencer Bachus (R) from Vestavia also cosponsored a balanced budget amendment. Bachus said, “The debate that we just went through on the ‘fiscal cliff” should leave no doubt that the number one priority of the new Congress must be to finally put America’s fiscal house in order. That is why I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the Balanced Budget Amendment introduced today by my colleague and good friend, Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte. The overspending that we are seeing is unsustainable and is a threat not just to our economy, but our national security.”
Congresswoman Roby said, “Yesterday the President spent an hour lecturing Congress about ‘paying our bills.’ Well, one great way to ensure you can always pay your bills is to never charge up more than you can afford. The spending reductions through entitlement reforms we’ve continued to seek are important and needed, but the long-term solution to our country’s debt problem is requiring Washington politicians to pass a balanced budget every year.”
Roby’s Balanced Budget Amendment would prohibit federal expenditures from exceeding federal revenues within the same fiscal year and 20 percent of the gross domestic product for the preceding calendar year and would set a deadline for the President to submit to Congress a proposed federal budget in which total outlays do not exceed total revenues received by the United States. Roby’s amendment would have an exception for times of Congressionally-declared war. Under Roby’s amendment it would take both a three fifths vote of the Senate and a two-thirds vote of the House to authorize suspension of the balanced budget rule.
Rep. Roby introduced a similar amendment in her first term. The Republican controlled House of Representatives passed a balanced budget amendment in the last Congress, but it died in the Democratic controlled U.S. Senate. If passed by Congress the measure would still have to be ratified by at least 38 of the states.