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Question of the Week: Do you support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution?
Posted by Randy | June 08, 2011

For over 140 years of this country’s history—from 1789 to 1932—balanced budgets or surplus budgets were the norm.  However, since 1960 the United States has run annual federal budget deficits in all but six fiscal years.  Moreover, the size of the annual deficit this country has faced in recent decades is unprecedented and growing rapidly.  Congress has previously used a number of statutory mechanisms to try to solve the federal deficit.  But when faced with fiscal accountability, Congress has continually acted to legislatively evade these mechanisms, which is all too easy to do, so long as a statutory rather than constitutional, budget mandate is in place.  At a time when the United States government is borrowing 42 cents of every dollar it spends and 48 states have similar balanced budget requirements, I believe that the crisis has risen to one that can only be addressed by a constitutional solution.  As a result, I am cosponsoring H.J.Res. 2, a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  This resolution requires that Congress not spend more than it receives in revenues, requires the President to submit a balanced budget to Congress, and requires a 3/5 majority vote to increase the debt limit.  The resolution authorizes a waiver of the provisions when a declaration of war is in effect as declared by a joint resolution that has become law after being adopted by a majority of the whole number of each House.

Question of the Week:
Do you support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution that: requires that Congress not spend more than it receives in revenues, requires the President to submit a balanced budget to Congress, and requires a 3/5 majority vote to increase the debt limit?

(  ) Yes, I support a Balanced Budget Amendment.
(  ) No, I do not support a Balanced Budget Amendment.
(  ) Other (share your thoughts on my blog below).
(  ) I am unsure.

Take the poll here.

Find out the results of last week’s instaPoll here.

Learn more about the elements of a Balanced Budget Amendment here.

Comments
Users are solely responsible for the opinions they post here and their comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Congressman Forbes.
  • Helen Hackett commented on 6/8/2011
    I support a Balanced Budget Amendment, but not one that does it 10 years down the road. We need to do it now.
  • Johnny Hiott commented on 6/8/2011
    I support a balanced budget amendment but only through fiscal responsibility of Congress. Not if the intent is to continue spending and continually raise taxes.
  • s f commented on 6/8/2011
    I support a Balanced Budget Amendment, congress should lead the way by volunteering to take pay cuts for lousy performance. Congress has not seriously tried to work with the White House to solve the USA's financial problems. I don't want my taxes to increase however congress needs to be honest with the American people and let the people know that taxes will increase because the government needs the revenue to balance the budget. The trurth is the budget can not be balanced with spending cuts alone.
  • kissem allbetter commented on 6/8/2011
    I like the balanced budget. I do NOT like the 60% vs. 51% majority required for passage.
  • Alan Keffer commented on 6/8/2011
    I do not support a balanced budget amendment because there are times of crisis when spending must outstrip revenues for a short time. However, I do support cutting gov't spending dramatically and if that means default in July to achieve it...so be it.
  • Tom Sadler commented on 6/8/2011
    If a balanced budget means we dont go to war or continue to be policeman of the world every time a president wants to ,then I'm all for it. I assume the Congress would have to pay for it before it could be authorized which means taking away the ability of the president to wage war for 60 days before coming to the Congress for approval. Unless we remain "waiver" US and grant waivers for that too. I dont think the American people have the same concept of "rule of law" as the Congress. We have lost the idea of "We are a nation of laws" The executive branch tramps on the law and our Congress lets it. None of this matters until we have a Congress commit to holding the executive branch responsible for proper execution of the rule of law.
  • Ronald Braunhardt commented on 6/8/2011
    Both parties share blame in where we are today, but clearly, the demo's have run the 'tab' up just to buy votes, and it HAS to end. I support a balanced budget amendment, but only accompanied by spending cuts and every budget line item is included. There must be NO budget items that are off the table, e.g. cannot be included in cuts. Defense must always be considered, but should never be lower than previous averages in similar times. In other words, if we are in a sustained peace, the budget should be the average of what we spent in similar, previous peaceful times. Ditto for periods of warfare. ALL, repeat ALL entitlements should be considered for cuts, not just what is now labeled as 'discretionary spending'! Additionally, I want immediate cuts in non-Defense spending in conjunction with a Balanced Budget amendment. Without the above caveats, I will not support an amendment.
  • Steve Sims commented on 6/8/2011
    Oh, for pity's sake! All we need to do to have a balanced budget is to STOP SPENDING MORE MONEY THAN YOU HAVE! There's no need for political grandstanding by way of a constitutional amendment. Just do your job, and stop borrowing from our grandchildren. This is not hard. Millions of families balance their budgets every month. Why can't Congress?
  • Charles Gustafson commented on 6/8/2011
    Where wee you between 2001 and 2006?
  • B A Thorp commented on 6/8/2011
    Best bill is that congress only gets paid if actual spending is underactual income recieved. The trouble with a budget is that it is a budget not real spending. When will yoiu guys in Congress get serious and do your job? By the way I voted yes in the poll because it was the closest choice.
  • Lora King commented on 6/8/2011
    While I agree that the budget needs to be balanced and that a good place to start is to STOP the spending, I do NOT agree that we should raise the debt limit. Credit card companies do NOT raise our credit limit when we reach the existing limit. Why? Because it's bad business. Congress is spending money on things that do not need the attention. Our military members are being robbed while they are in foreign countries doing what there job dictates that they do. Congress is sitting here spending money on a welfare program that is being abused by the vast majority of people on it, programs that are overseas to avoid taxes state-side, and themselves. When you leave a job, unless it's retiring from it, you shouldn't continue to be able to draw the same money as before. My husband retired from the military and only draws about 75 percent of what he was making while active. Doesn't sound fair to me. Cut YOUR paychecks before cutting everyone else's! Cut taxes on the poor and middle class and raise them where they need to be raised-the wealthy and those trying to find ways not to pay taxes.
  • David Moore commented on 6/8/2011
    A Balanced Budget Amendment without a constraint on taxes would still allow uncontrolled spending. The 111th Congress showed such callous disregard for the American taxpayer, we must be protected from such abuse in the future. The BBA needs to include a provision that any tax increase requires a super-majority of Congress. Better yet, ban all corporate and individual income taxes and replace with the "Fair Tax".
  • First Name Last Name commented on 6/8/2011
    Isn't it a little late for balancing acts? People are broke, the states and cities are broke, and the Fed is printing paper at such a rate that trees will soon be extinct in America. The issue should be what is going to be our nation's response when the upcoming constitutional crisis develops because of sovereign default?
  • Tom DeSanto commented on 6/8/2011
    My thoughts on the"Debt Crisis". Make it a "Stupid Investor Crisis". Immediately freeze all sales and redemption of treasury paper, (notes, bonds, ect.). Then, say so sorry you lose. No interest, no principle returned to the "stupid investors". I think this is called a strategic default. Then return to the 1998-1999 balanced budget levels of the "Clinton years". Then don't spend anymore than you bring in in tax revenue. Anything extra, it's called a rainy day fund like everyone else should have. Less medicare, less social security, less military spending, less aid to foreign gov't's (none would be better) you get the picture. Basically everybody takes a hit.
  • Spencer Lyman commented on 6/8/2011
    The idea of a Constitutional Amendment for a Balanced Budget is a very good idea but as we all know opening the door to Pandora's Box can be dangerous. Once a Constitutional Convention has been called our government acan go in and add, subtract, and modify ANYTHING within the US Constitution! So, if the people have the promise of the business being the Balanced Budget only while the convention is being held, then there is no opposition as far as I'm concerned...
  • Alan Craig commented on 6/8/2011
    Congressman Forbes, I do not support a Constitutional Amendment on any subject. The reason is that a Constitutional Convention is like letting the Fox in the Hen House. Just as one would expect that after doing so there would be no chickens left alive in the Hen House, one could resaonably expect that after a Constitutional Conventions there would be no provisions left in place restricting the reach and power of government and particularly of the Executive Branch. Already Congress and the Executive Branch have shown a general contempt for the Constitutional and an unwillingness to live within and safeguard the provisions already in the Constitution. An Amendment requiring a Balanced Budget is not necessary given the reasonble expectation we should have that reasonable and responsible people in charge of our government should do what is right and not act like drunken sailors on an all expenses paid tour of the flesh pots of Asia.
  • Jess Last Name commented on 6/8/2011
    Honorable Forbes, The government could pay off the deficit in five years and only have to pass one tax law. Put a 75% tax on all political donations received by politicians and people running for an office. I know it sounds high, but all those lobbyists and special interest groups are going to continue to fund the political machine to ensure their best interests are being taking care of in Washington and the revenues will continue to grow exponentially and the deficit will be paid off in five years without taxing us common people!
  • Dianna Howard commented on 6/9/2011
    Congress and the President pays no attention to the Constitution as it is and if this were past they would raise taxes and raid pension funds rather then cut spending. The House controls the purse strings so try harder, submit a budget that that does not spend more than revenues
  • Richard Reviello commented on 6/9/2011
    I like the idea that Jess (no name) posted on 6/8. Tax all the political donations received by people running for political office. This way all the lobbyist/corporations/associations etc, can help pay down debt and help balance the budget with their generosity. It may just be the best plan I've heard yet, and just think it may even do some good for the American public. It may even curb the number of campaign ads we are subject to every election. That in itself is enough the warrant a hefty tax on campaign contributions.
  • Kae Calloway commented on 6/9/2011
    I think 51% is majority rule and is most displeased with all the supermajorities used to slow down any progress towards solving important issues. I support a balanced budget, but only if Congress is willing to look realistically at ALL our needs and not give in to special interest groups and pressure from corporations. Government is supposed to be for "We the people", period. I can't trust that Congress has my best interests at heart as their current actions clearly demonstrate; too much party line politics and not enough work on the issues at hand. For all the pontification about the Constitution, individual representative or party agendas seem to trump "WE the People" at every crossroads. It seems Congress only tries to solve a problem if it fits their parties’ agenda, regardless of how "We the People" feel or how their actions impact us. "Big Money", whether lobbying or by contributing to campaigns, has diminished "We the Peoples" access to fair and equal representation. I have lost faith with the ability of Congress to be reasonable about ANY issue, but most especially the budget and taxes. It's time Congress got back to basics and once again put the welfare of "We the People" first and foremost in their daily work agenda. We can only weather this storm together with reasonable heads working towards a positive end; this constant division will destroy any change for a speedy recovery.
  • Eli Last Name commented on 6/9/2011
    All businesses, including our government, should operate using a balanced budget. That being said, it appears that our legislators and current president do not understand the most basic accounting principles whereby the amount spent must not exceed the amount collected. It is a shame that many of those we vote into office must be regulated into this. We trust that those for whom we vote are intelligent and principled enough to make policies for the good of citizens, but it is becoming more and more evident that is not the case. A balanced budget should include, of course, repayments toward existing debt.
  • First Name James commented on 6/9/2011
    We need to balance the debit now not tomorrow. To Balance anything you must review your output. You must alao review if you have monies coming in to you your account. The USA government does not have monies coming into their account as fast as they are spending it. If we taxed the goods coming into this country to offset the jobs that have left this country, then we would have some income. I think it is like all other conflicts that this country has been involved in the cost always falls on the American people to pay the TAb. We should be charging any country we help a fee for servives rendered. BRING MANUFACTURING BACK TO THIS COUNTRY BEFORE IT IS TO LATE AND ANOTHER OWNES THE USA. MAnufacturing could heal the wounds that are having with funding it has in the apss ansd it can now.
  • Jean Clelland-Morin commented on 6/9/2011
    Depends on whose back the budget is balanced. Jean Clelland-Morin
  • Judith Sharpe commented on 6/9/2011
    A balanced Budger? It's a litt;e late isn't it? Where have you Congressman been for the past ten years? Sad, very sad. Our country is ruled by Israel and you care about a balanced budget.
  • Nathaniel Ramsey commented on 6/10/2011
    The budget could be balance just like when the Feds/Citizens pull out the banks and auto manufactors, just hold one year of all U.S. Citizens tax refunds to pay the budget. It would hurt many but they would survive plus stop most of the foreign aid we send overseas. It is also like paying off a credit card, stop buying and start saving for debt payoff. Start using the resources we already have instead of buying from other countries (oil). Everyone would benefit in the long run and this U.S. crisis would be soon over.
  • Jon Inghram commented on 6/30/2011
    1. Federal government spending is already limited by the Constitution to the enumerated powers listed therein which the Congress and the President have ignored, spending on many objects which they may not lawfully appropriate funds. 2. The BBA would make this spending lawful & constitutional, as long as the total spending doesn’t exceed the limits which they may waive! With the BBA, it will become lawful for them to appropriate funds for whatever the President wants in his budget! 3. Neither Congress nor the President abides by the current limits in the Constitution. Why would an ammendment that only offers them additional power restrict them in any way? 4. The solution is for the people to reclaim the power as in "We the people," and insist that our elected representatives obey the Constitution whereby we directed them to conduct the affairs of our nation. If they refuse to do so they must be replaced with those who understand and will follow the Constitution. 5. The unconstitutional federal apparatus must be dismantled. We can eliminate the trillions of dollars of unconstitutional spending by restoring constitutional government. We must methodically, take down the spurious governmental departments and agencies that have grown up which are now bankrupting us.
  • Nelson Potter commented on 8/6/2011
    Yes I support for the balanced budget as it will be good for the people and for the whole country. http://www.cashtilpay.co.uk/
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