Blue Dog Leadership Statement on the Republican Balanced Budget Amendment
Today, the co-chairs of the fiscally-responsible, Democratic Blue Dog Coalition—Reps. Jim Costa (D-CA), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), and Daniel Lipinski (D-IL)—released the following statement on the Republican balanced budget amendment that failed to pass in the U.S. House of Representatives:
“Fixing our nation’s debt must be a priority for everyone in Washington—not an afterthought.
“Over the course of this Presidency and this Congress, we have seen the national debt blow past an unprecedented level of $21 trillion, or approximately $174,188 per taxpayer. This week, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a report estimating that we will see $1 trillion deficits return in only two years. We have not seen deficits like this since the depths of the Great Recession. If we continue down this path, within five years, America will have to spend more on interest payments on the public debt than it will on the military.
“The Blue Dogs have advocated for decades that we must legally require that we balance our budget in a responsible way. But we know—and the American people know—that this balanced budget amendment was indeed an afterthought. During the tax debate, we called on our Republican colleagues to work with us in a real way to produce at least revenue neutral tax reform. Instead, today, we find ourselves voting on a balanced budget amendment after our Republican colleagues passed a deficit-financed tax law on a party-line vote that will explode the deficit by $1.9 trillion over the next decade. This is the epitome of hypocrisy.
“Frankly, we should not have had to reach this point in the first place. Congress should take it upon itself to balance its budget. However, Congress has demonstrated over and over again that it cannot and will not balance its budget on its own. We should never take any Constitutional amendment lightly, including a balanced budget amendment, but we have reached a point where Congress requires a forcing mechanism to take a more responsible approach when it comes to fiscal discipline. Congress should have voted on Rep. Stephanie Murphy’s Blue Dog-endorsed balanced budget amendment that upholds our promise to the American people and protects safety net programs like Medicare and Social Security. But we were not given that choice.
“Today’s balanced budget amendment vote symbolizes the fact that our nation’s fiscal state is at the point of no return without a serious, bipartisan effort to make the difficult decisions required to get us on the right track.
“As Blue Dogs, we will continue to fight to put our country on the path to economic prosperity and fiscal sustainability. It is our hope that this vote serves as a wakeup call for Washington to the reality that our rising debt puts the future of our economy and our children in jeopardy. For the sake of our nation, it is time for Congress to walk the walk, and not just talk the talk, when it comes to our fiscal state. This isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue—it’s an American issue.”