WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, Senator Mike Lee introduced an amendment to the Constitution that would require the federal government to balance its budget each year.
The amendment would place strict limits on Washington’s ability to spend more money than it takes in, raise the debt limit, or increase taxes, and gives standing to any member of Congress to enforce the balanced budget requirement.
“Moms and dads, business owners, and state and local governments all over the country have to live within their means. There is no good argument why Washington shouldn’t be expected to do the same each year,” said Lee, who sits on the Joint Economic Committee.
Our national debt threatens our future prosperity and will force the country to make incredibly difficult decisions down the road if we don’t start making changes today. My Balanced Budget Amendment puts effective limitations on Washington’s unsustainable appetite to overspend Americans’ hard-earned dollars without consequence.
The proposed amendment requires Congress to spend no more than it takes in during any fiscal year and limits spending to 18 percent of the gross national product; the 40-year historical average of total federal receipts.
Congress can only run a deficit, raise taxes or increase the debt limit if agreed to by a two-thirds vote of both the House and Senate. The amendment gives standing to any member of Congress to seek judicial enforcement of the balanced budget requirement as long as they have been authorized to do so by a petition signed by one-third of either the House or the Senate. The amendment would become effective in the second fiscal year after ratification.
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