Roe Supports the Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment on the House Floor
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) gave the following speech on the House floor regarding H.J.Res. 2, a Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment:
“Thank you, Mister Speaker, I rise today in support of H.J.Res. 2, a Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment, and I want to thank Chairman Goodlatte for the incredible work he’s done on this issue.
“Families across America have to balance their budget, and it is time Washington does the same. I was the Mayor of my local city before I came here – six balanced budgets with surplus each and every year. Forty-eight states, including my home state of Tennessee, require a balanced budget by law; what makes Washington any different? Members of Congress are required to balance their office budgets or pay for any overages themselves. Guess what Mister Speaker: 435 balanced budgets.
“The rhetoric we hear from the other side is that the reason we have massive budget deficits is tax cuts. Let’s talk about an inconvenient truth: revenues collected by the federal government have never been higher in the history of this country. Revenue has increased nearly 8 percent annually over the last 7 years. Mr. Speaker, the federal government doesn’t need 8 percent more revenue each and every year. What we need is to rein in our spending. Spending is the problem.
“The other point we’ve heard is that the recent omnibus spending bill is another sign of Congress’ lack of seriousness to addressing spending. Well, discretionary spending has been growing at about 2.4 percent over the last 14 years. That’s more than a lot of us would like, but we basically have held this spending in check.
“The problem is that our ballooning mandatory programs that account for 70 cents of every dollar we spend annually. Mandatory spending, which includes pensions, food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and others is growing 7.5 percent per year. Medicare and Social Security both face crises in the not-too-distant future, and Congress has to make hard choices about how to secure these programs for future generations. I am convinced, however, that the only way Congress will make those hard choices is if we are forced to.
“Both parties bear responsibility for our annual budget deficits, but people have a choice here today. The last time we had a chance to vote on a similar resolution was 2011, and the only thing that’s changed since then is our debt and deficit have exploded further. It is time that we in Congress make the hard decision and require Washington to abide by a balance budget before it’s too late and we can’t right the ship. The same thing that families do every single week and month of the year.
“I strongly support H.J.Res. 2 and I encourage all of my colleagues to do the same, and help start the process to bring some fiscal responsibility back to Washington.“With that, Mister Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.”