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Balanced Budget Amendment

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas (Mr. McCaul) for 5 minutes.

Rep. Michael McCaul

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

Our debt burden in this country is so heavy, it is no longer simply a financial issue; it is a moral issue. We have spent and spent, racking up astronomical debt that will dampen the American Dream for our children and grandchildren. If we continue on this path, we will guarantee that future generations will have unsustainable tax burdens, monstrous inefficient bureaucracies, and a lifestyle so diminished that it will no longer resemble the America that we all know and love.

That is not what our Founding Fathers had in mind when they formed this great Nation. In fact, in 1798, Thomas Jefferson wrote, ``I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I mean an additional article taking from the Federal Government the power of borrowing.'' Thomas Jefferson could never in his wildest dreams have imagined that our debt would one day top $14 trillion, threatening our very way of life. And unfortunately, this is a problem that only gets worse--every year that we produce a budget, our spending grows.

Ronald Reagan had it right when he said, ``No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. A government program is the nearest thing on Earth we'll ever see to eternal life.'' And that was back in the 1980s when our debt was a fraction of what it is now.

Our debt has grown so out of control that it not only saddles future generations with our irresponsibility, but it poses a national security threat to our country today. Former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, recently stated that our increasing debt is the biggest threat we have to our national security. We are playing with fire. And it is time to stop, and it is time to do the right thing.

Not only do 49 States have balanced budget amendments, but Americans all across the country have to balance their household budgets. It is time for Congress to do the same and balance America's checkbook.

Some of our friends on the other side of the aisle agree. In a recent letter to House Members, the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. DeFazio) asked his colleagues to buck their leadership and vote for the balanced budget amendment. He said, going against it is a ``strategic mistake,'' and I agree. His party's leadership evidently disagrees. And a recent headline in USA Today says it all: ``House Dems will Block Balanced Budget Amendment.'' Unfortunately, they will be on the wrong side of history.

It is time for us to take a stand and do the right thing. Let's stand on the side of our children and our grandchildren and on the side of Jefferson and Reagan and with those who believe that the safety and security of our country should come before our short-term, insatiable appetite for ever-increasing government spending. The time is now. Let's support the balanced budget amendment and put an end to the fiscal insanity that threatens this great country.