Our national debt has soared past $15 trillion- forcing a historic debate about the proper size and scope of our government. This debate is an enduring one in our great Republic. It will define who we are as a nation – about our future for our children and grandchildren.
The American people are demanding dramatic action. But standing in the way is a President who refuses to back away from his failed agenda of higher taxes and higher spending. This is a President who has presided over the single largest reduction in employment in modern times. This is a President who has tried to tax almost anything that moves. This is a President who has increased the national debt by 35 percent on his watch.
There is only one response to this President and to our spending-fueled debt crisis – that is a constitutional balanced budget amendment that would put a straightjacket on our nation’s addiction to spending money we simply do not have.
This week, the Senate will once again consider a balanced budget amendment, backed by all 47 Republicans in the Senate, to make sure we never face this level of debt again. It requires Washington to balance its budget every year like American families do, ensures that any tax increase only occurs with supermajority approval in Congress, limits Congress’ ability to raise the debt ceiling, and caps spending at 18 percent of our nation’s economy.
It will be a divisive debate, because the President and his liberal allies in Congress cannot allow a balanced budget amendment to succeed. They want to grow government, encroach on liberty, and expand our debt to levels we simply cannot sustain.
Opponents of this amendment claim that a balanced budget amendment is unnecessary and that Congress should make the tough fiscal decisions to reduce deficits and rein in our debt.
But history is a stark reminder that without a constitutional amendment that simply will not happen. Congress simply lacks the political will to make the tough decisions necessary to get our fiscal house in order. In fact, every grand compromise over the past three decades to tackle our debt has been undone almost immediately after being enacted by Congress, with massive spending increases being forced onto taxpayers almost as soon as the ink dried. And nothing could demonstrate how desperately we need a balanced budget amendment than the failure of the so-called SuperCommittee to reach an agreement to reduce spending by up to $1.5 trillion.
The real truth is that opponents don’t want to let the American people decide how they want their government to function. The American people want a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, but Congress continues to deny them the opportunity to debate and ratify such an amendment. I suspect this is because they don’t want to adhere to the fiscal discipline they know the American people want.
We are at a true crossroads as a nation – the fiscal path we take today will define the future we leave for our children and grandchildren. It is time we pass a balanced budget amendment so that the American people can decide whether to impose fiscal restraint on Congress, and help define the economic reality we want to face as a nation. Americans deserve an opportunity to vote on the amendment, and I’m going to continue to do everything I can to make sure Congress gives them one.