Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Udall Co-sponsors Balanced Budget Amendment

Requiring a Balanced Federal Budget is One Important Tool to Restore Fiscal Responsibility

Today, Mark Udall announced that he will co-sponsor a bipartisan Constitutional amendment directing Congress to balance the federal budget each year. Udall joined Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama and others in introducing the common-sense Balanced Budget Amendment that will help pay down the nation’s debt and restore fiscal responsibility in Washington . Udall becomes the first Democratic senator in many years to join Republican senators in cosponsoring balanced budget amendment legislation.

The amendment states that federal spending could not exceed revenue, except in special cases, such as when the nation is in a war declared by Congress. And it could be suspended only if three-fifths of the members of the House and Senate agree.

“American families have to balance their own checkbooks – and, especially in these hard times, they’re wondering why their federal government doesn’t have to do the same,” Udall said. “In fact, the United States has balanced its budget only five times in the last 50 years. Meanwhile, we’ve racked up a record debt that threatens our future economic leadership. We need to take action now to turn our fiscal situation around.”

“I’ve long gone by the saying, if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. By restoring healthy and responsible spending through a reasonable Balanced Budget Amendment, we can begin filling in that hole. This amendment would send a strong signal to the financial markets, U.S. businesses, and the American people that we are serious about stabilizing our economy for the long-term.”

The resolution:

· States that federal spending cannot exceed revenue;

· Limits the total expenditures of the government to 20 percent of gross national product (GNP) of the previous year;

· Would not apply when the United States is engaged in a war declared by Congress;

· Allows a simple three-fifths vote of each house of Congress to suspend the balanced budget requirements for a given year;

Udall has long fought for smart budgeting tools – including “pay-as-you-go” budgeting, a line-item veto, and a ban on earmarks – which would help reduce waste and rein in federal spending. He also is among a small bipartisan group of senators urging consideration of the recommendations issued by the President’s commission on reducing the federal debt. He has said repeatedly that he wants the recommendations to come before Congress for an up-or-down vote. More information on Udall’s fight to restore fiscal responsibility in Washington is available HERE.

Udall believes these tools – combined with steps to spur innovation to help create jobs and measures to reform the broken ways in Washington – are critical to get our economy back on track and help Colorado – and the rest of the country – win the global economic race.