Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sen. Orrin Hatch Give GOP Address

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) gives this week's Republican address (video link here).Hatch makes the case for a balanced budget amendment. Recall that he introduced one in 1997, when it last by one vote.  Imagine how different our nation's financial picture would have been had that amendment been ratified!  Would Barrack Obama even run for president of a country with a balanced budget amendment?

This week he will introduce another balanced budget amendment. As Hatch observes, "the only reason congressional Democrats would refuse to pass it, is because they know the people of this country would rise up and quickly ratify it."

Here's the text of Hatch's address:

“Our nation is in the midst of one of the most critical debates in generations. It is a debate about the size, scope, and shape of our national government. It’s a debate over whether we act responsibly so our children and grandchildren aren’t left carrying the burden of unsustainable debt. 

“While the details of this debate change by the day, the fundamentals are clear. President Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress refuse to come up with a legitimate plan to confront our run-away spending that has left our country over $14 trillion in debt. He refuses to reform our near bankrupt entitlement programs  -- all while pushing job-killing tax hikes.

“We’ve been down this road before, and Republicans will not go down it again. In 1990, Congress and the President struck a deficit reduction deal that combined spending cuts with tax increases. Unfortunately, while the tax hikes remained, the spending restraint did not, and our debt has only marched higher. 

“The solution to a spending crisis is not tax increases. Yet, Washington has consistently demonstrated that it cannot control its urge to spend. That is why the only long-term solution is a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. Only by restoring constitutional restraints on the ability of Congress to spend, can we constrain the growth of the federal government. 

“Think of how different our fiscal picture would be if we’d passed one in 1997. After a fierce debate, the Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution that I introduced was defeated by just one vote in the United States Senate.

“Instead of sending that amendment to the states for ratification, and addressing the need for fiscal balance, fourteen years later, our nation faces a debt crisis of epic proportions. Our national debt has gone from roughly $5 trillion in 1997 to over $14 trillion today. That’s more than $45,000 for every man, woman, and child in America.

“And that debt keeps growing. According to Congress’s nonpartisan budget scorekeeper, the Congressional Budget Office, the nation’s debt could reach an astonishing 101 percent of domestic product in a decade – with interest payments that could reach over a trillion dollars a year. 

“The situation has only gotten worse after the Obama administration. In his first two years in office, discretionary spending has skyrocketed by 84 percent, including the failed stimulus, with spending reaching 25 percent of our nation’s economic output. We haven’t seen spending levels this high since World War II.

“This soaring debt is the number one issue I hear about from the people in my home state of Utah. As our economy continues to flounder, and families across Utah and all of America are forced to cut back, Washington refuses to make the tough choices that will bring down our massive debt. They know that we need immediate spending cuts; they know we need to cap spending; they know we need a Balanced Budget Amendment.

“Next week we have an opportunity to set things right. In the Senate, all 47 Republican senators back a Balanced Budget Amendment I’ve introduced with my colleagues Mike Lee and John Cornyn. It would require the president to submit, and Congress to pass, a balanced budget every year. And most importantly, it limits spending to 18 percent of gross domestic product and requires supermajorities in both houses of Congress to raise taxes.

“Unfortunately, last week the White House dismissed a Balanced Budget Amendment saying it is not good for the economy, and that our debt isn’t a constitutional issue.

“The American people know better. A Balanced Budget Amendment is essential for our economy, and our debt is definitely a constitutional issue.

“After all, the constitution belongs to the people, who determine what is a constitutional issue – not the White House. And if the debt isn’t a ‘constitutional issue,’ why is it that every state in the union but Vermont has a constitutional balanced budget requirement?

“This kind of strong budgetary reform would put us on a path to fiscal health and would prevent this White House or any future White House from forcing more debt on the American people.

“The only reason this Administration doesn’t want a constitutional amendment is because they want to keep spending the American people’s money. And the only reason congressional Democrats would refuse to pass it, is because they know the people of this country would rise up and quickly ratify it.

“A balanced budget amendment makes sense; its time has more than come. Now, Congress must act. Thank you for listening and may God continue to bless America.”

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