COGC & ATR Urge Support for Balanced Budget Amendment

Today, the Cost of Government Center and Americans for Tax Reform sent the following letter to the United States Senate, urging members to support Senator John Cornyn's proposed Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. Currently, all Republican Senators have signed on as co-sponsors of the amendment.

We write to urge support of Senate Joint Resolution 7, your Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution. Your BBA correctly focuses on ending government overspending to put the United States back on firm fiscal footing.

The amendment limits spending to 18 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Capping spending at this level would put outlays in line with historical revenue streams. Since 1970, spending has averaged 21 percent of GDP while tax revenues have consistently stayed around18 percent. However, if current trends continue, CBO estimates spending will never fall back below 22 percent. 

Your Balanced Budget Amendment places the onus of responsible budgeting on lawmakers, rather than passing Washington’s reckless spending burden onto taxpayers. It does this by requiring any net tax increase to overcome a two-thirds supermajority in each chamber of Congress.

Washington has an overspending problem, not an under-taxing problem. A BBA that doesn’t explicitly protect taxpayers would allow lawmakers to balance their budgets on the backs of hardworking Americans and distract Congress from the crucial task at hand: restraining and reforming spending.

The bill could be strengthened to require a supermajority to waive the spending cap during a declared war. However, it does require a vote of three-fifths of the Congress to bypass the cap in the times of a military conflict, indicating that lawmakers are willing to confront the practice of hiding spending increases behind exigencies.

Capping spending at 18 percent requires government to live within its means. This strict spending cap, coupled with a supermajority requirement that protects taxpayers, is a significant step towards reining in the size of government.

We encourage your colleagues to co-sponsor and otherwise support S.J.Res. 7, your Balanced Budget Amendment, and look forward to continuing to work with you to increase fiscal responsibility in federal lawmaking.

Click here to read the full letter.

TAGS: Spending

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