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DeFazio Introduces Balanced Budget Amendment

Jul 19, 2017
Press Release

Today while the House Budget Committee considers the Republicans’ fiscally-irresponsible FY 2018 budget, Rep. Peter DeFazio introduced legislation that would amend the U.S. Constitution to include a balanced budget amendment.

The amendment requires any legislation that would increase the nation’s deficit to be approved by three-fifths of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Each year, the President will be required to submit a balanced budget to Congress.

“Our national debt has ballooned to nearly twenty trillion dollars, yet the GOP’s highest priority is tax cuts for our nation’s wealthiest,” said Rep. DeFazio. “It’s impossible to balance the budget with a massive increase in defense spending and massive tax cuts for the wealthy—that is, without slashing funding from programs that working Americans depend upon. Under the GOP’s budget, student loans, school lunch programs, food stamps, and earned benefits like Medicare are all on the chopping block. My legislation would balance the budget through prudent reductions in spending while protecting the programs Americans rely on.”

The legislation, H.J. Res 109, would require any military conflict that is not a congressionally-declared war to be counted as part of the budget. Currently, the Department of Defense receives billions of “off-budget” dollars annually to fund military operations. The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost U.S. taxpayers over $1 trillion dollars, and despite dragging on for more than fifteen years, are still considered “emergency off-budget spending” and none of it is paid for.  If Rep. DeFazio’s balanced budget amendment is enacted, spending for these and similar operations would have to be included in the annual budget.

Congress will have the authority to waive the amendment in years when a declaration of war is in effect.

In addition, Rep. DeFazio’s legislation would protect Social Security and Medicare from being raided in order to pay for other government spending. 

To see Rep. DeFazio’s floor speech on his balanced budget legislation, click here.


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