Proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution

Floor Speech

Date: Nov. 17, 2011
Location: Washington, DC


Ms. HERRERA BEUTLER. Winston Churchill said that Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing after they've exhausted all other possibilities.

What's interesting about this quote is it actually applies to this institution. What have we tried? We've tried billion-dollar bailouts for auto companies. We've tried billion-dollar bailouts for Wall Street fat cats, not for Main Street. We've done bailouts for automakers. We've thrown money at everything, and we have added so much to our national debt in the last 4 years.

Republicans did it too. It doesn't make it right.

So, are we better off than we were 4 years ago? No. In southwest Washington State, we still have rampant unemployment and joblessness.

I'm no economist. I'm not the distinguished minority leader, whom I respect. I'm just an average American that understands a very simple truth: You cannot spend more than you have.

That's all this amendment does. That's it. We're not cutting Social Security. We're not cutting Medicare. We would not. We're actually protecting those programs by saying, this Federal Government is going to live within the money that it takes from the taxpayers every year, no more, no less.

It's very, very simple. You don't have to be an economist to understand that if you spend more money than you have every year, you have a problem. Our problem is $15 trillion worth of backbreaking debt. We don't have to look much further than Europe to know that no country can exist under debt like this for too long. We're actually taking steps to protect our poor and vulnerable by putting sideboards around the reckless spending of this Congress.

With this amendment, we're cutting up the credit card that is going to break the backs of the American people and cost us more jobs.

I urge my colleagues to join us in solutions, and bipartisan solutions, that are going to bring an opportunity for America to prosper and succeed. A ``no'' vote is putting people under and putting politics above. We need to reverse that and put people before politics.

I urge a ``yes'' vote.