Proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution

Floor Speech

Date: Nov. 18, 2011
Location: Washington, DC


Since this is the Thanksgiving season, maybe rather than denigrating the inheritance of a child born in our country, we can celebrate it. The truth is not that as a young American you are born with all this debt. What you're born into is as a citizen of the greatest country anywhere in the world, the wealthiest, most powerful Nation in the world, made up of decisions that are being decried here. We could not balance our budget and win World War I or World War II, or build 40,000 miles of Federal highway or build the land grant college system.

In my church, we borrowed a mortgage to build a church, and you pay for it over time. These 49 States that we hear, these imaginary balanced budget amendments, all of those States borrow money. They have a capital budget. They borrow money to build bridges and highways and roads. This nonsense that families don't borrow money to buy homes or cars, Republicans in the majority can do better than this. This is not a debate between Republicans and Democrats.

We don't need a balanced budget. We need a budget as a country that retains our leadership position in the world. We don't want to have a balanced budget and a weak military. We don't want to have a balanced budget but not be able to take care of the needs that have propelled our country forward.

We just honored John Glenn and Neil Armstrong, astronauts who led our way into space. We didn't do that on a balanced budget. We said that we were going to lead in terms of the race to the Moon, and we led. This country deserves better.

Republicans who are here, let us address the real issue. The real issue is that we have a 70-year low in the amount of resources coming into the government because we've cut taxes. The gentleman says where can we borrow a trillion dollars from? Well, we can borrow it from the trillion dollars of tax expenditures we are going to provide this tax year, many to the wealthiest people of our country. We have the ability to pay our bills. We need to make the decision to do it and leave the Constitution alone.