By Rep. Rich Nugent
Ladies and gentlemen, your federal government is failing you and it is critical that you speak up about it.
Generations of politicians – from both parties – have avoided their responsibility to this nation. They have put short-term wants before the country’s long-term needs. The cumulative effect of this is a national debt that is now larger than our entire country’s economic output.
Both parties are responsible for it. Period. And it’s important that all Americans are honest about that. We cannot afford to postpone fixing the problem because of a desire to blame others. And that will be our choice this week when the House of Representatives votes on a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.
This is the first time Congress has considered such an amendment since it came up one vote short of passing in 1997. As you would expect, there are people in Congress today who were here in ’97. Some who supported it then are voting against it now.
It’s not because of any trickery or fine print. This Balanced Budget Amendment is what they call a “plain vanilla” version. It requires that Congress pass a balanced budget unless, in the case of a national emergency such as a war or natural disaster, three-fifths of Congress vote to temporarily waive the requirement to cover the cost of that emergency.
I’m not sure what those former supporters have seen in the last fifteen years that would give them confidence that Congress is capable of managing the taxpayers’
money responsibly. I certainly haven’t seen anything to give me that confidence.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the crux of the issue. Everyone would like to believe that Congress can be trusted to manage the country’s finances, but the facts scream otherwise. And it’s not just the facts of the last few years, or the last ten years, but rather it is the facts of the last hundred years.
Your government has been making promises to you at every turn with borrowed money and borrowed time. And after many years, we have started running out of credit and have certainly already run out of time.
Our choice today is whether we change the course of the country’s history or not. It’s a choice of whether we will guarantee our children a country they can afford to keep. And it is a choice about whether we want to control our own destiny or have it determined for us.
The President opposes this amendment and I submit to you that any member of Congress, Republican or Democrat, who joins him is continuing a decades-long record of failing to lead. They are continuing the status quo. Washington, D.C. cannot be trusted to fix itself. You must fix it and that starts with demanding that your leaders balance the budget once and for all.
Member of Congress