Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)
WASHINGTON -- South Carolina Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today introduced a Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment in the U.S. Senate. If ratified, the amendment would not allow the federal government to spend more money than it collects each year. In limited circumstances, such as during a time of war, Congress can waive the balanced budget requirement with a two-thirds majority. The amendment also would make it more difficult for Congress to increase the burden on the taxpayer by requiring a two-thirds majority vote to raise taxes.
“A balanced budget constitutional amendment provides the best hope of regaining and maintaining fiscal sanity,” said Graham, a long-time supporter of the BBA. “The urge to spend is powerful. In my years in the Congress I’ve seen first-hand how both parties behave when in control of the federal purse. Neither side seems capable of being a good, long-term steward of the taxpayer dollar.”
"Tax cuts have fueled our economy and led to a surge in tax revenue, but even with those cuts American's tax burden is above historic averages,” said DeMint. “Washington isn't taxing too little, its simply spending too much. It's time to pass a balanced budget amendment to force a stop to wasteful overspending."
“Americans in their private and business lives are faced with the consequences of deficits,” said Graham. “Congress, on the other hand, can ignore those kinds of rules. Senator DeMint, who has been a great steward of the taxpayer dollar, understands this dynamic. We must get the nation’s fiscal house back in order and the BBA is an institutional reform that will serve us well.”
"Every family in South Carolina knows spending more than you make is the fastest way to financial disaster,” said DeMint. “Yet, Congress continues to increase our debt by billions each year leaving a mess for our children and grandchildren to clean up. Lindsey and I have fought for years to keep taxes and spending low, but we must enact true reform if we are ever to see real change in Washington. I encourage my colleagues to support the balanced budget amendment so we can bring some fiscal sanity back to the federal budget."
In order to become law, the amendment must be passed by two-thirds of both the House of Representative and the Senate, and then be ratified by two-thirds of the states. A decade ago, a similar version of the BBA passed the House of Representatives but failed in the Senate by a single vote.