Tag Archives: u s constitution.

Dear Senator Pryor, why not pass the Balanced Budget Amendment? (“Thirsty Thursday”, Open letter to Senator Pryor)

Talk about timing, every Thursday I have been running this series on why Mark Pryor should vote to pass the Balanced Budget Amendment and I get to the computer this morning and read on the Arkansas Times Blog that Senator Pryor released a statement on the Balanced Budget Amendment yesterday. I can’t wait to talk about that. However, first I wanted to quote the statement Senator Pryor gave on December 14, 2011. This information below is from the Arkansas Times Blog on 12-14-11 and Max Brantley:

THREE CHEERS FOR MARK PRYOR: Our senator voted not once, but twice, today against one of the hoariest (and whoriest) of Republican gimmicks, a balanced budget amendment. Let’s quote him:

As H.L. Mencken once said, “For every complex problem there is a solution which is simple, clean, and wrong.” This quote describes the balanced budget amendment. While a balanced budget amendment makes for an easy talking point, it is an empty solution. Moreover, it’s a reckless choice that handcuffs our ability to respond to an economic downturn or national emergencies without massive tax increases or throwing everyone off Medicare, Social Security, or veteran’s care.There is a more responsible alternative to balance the budget. President Clinton led the way in turning deficits into record surpluses. We have that same opportunity today, using the blueprint provided by the debt commission as a starting point. We need to responsibly cut spending, reform our tax code and create job growth. This course requires hard choices over a number of years. However, it offers a more balanced approach over jeopardizing safety net programs and opportunity for robust economic growth.

Dear Senator Pryor,

Why not pass the Balanced Budget Amendment? As you know that federal deficit is at all time high (1.6 trillion deficit with revenues of 2.2 trillion and spending at 3.8 trillion).

On my blog www.HaltingArkansasLiberalswithTruth.com I took you at your word and sent you over 100 emails with specific spending cut ideas. However, I did not see any of them in the recent debt deal that Congress adopted. Now I am trying another approach. Every week from now on I will send you an email explaining different reasons why we need the Balanced Budget Amendment. It will appear on my blog on “Thirsty Thursday” because the government is always thirsty for more money to spend.

In this paper below you will read:

America cannot raise taxes to continue overspending, because tax hikes shrink our economy and grow our government. America cannot borrow more to continue overspending, because borrowing puts an enormous financial burden on the American children of tomorrow. A BBA will help address this long-term problem because, after the multi-year process for securing ratification of the BBA by three-quarters of the states, the BBA will keep federal spending under control in subsequent years.

Washington has not been able to cut spending so the BBA is needed to force Washington to do the right thing. Your father David Pryor was the governor of Arkansas and he knew what it meant to have a balanced budget by mandate.

Thank you again for this opportunity to share my ideas with you.


Everette Hatcher, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

Balanced Budget Amendment: Cut Spending Later, Cut Spending Now

March 31, 2011


Two key principles should govern congressional consideration of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that requires the federal government to balance its budget:

  • First Principle: A Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) is important to help bring long-term fiscal responsibility to America’s future when the BBA takes effect after ratification by three-quarters of the state legislatures; it is equally important for Congress to cut spending nowto address the current overspending crisis.
  • Second Principle: An effective BBA will include three elements to: (a) control spending, taxation, and borrowing, (b) ensure the defense of America, and (c) enforce the requirement to balance the budget.

Cuts for the Future, Cuts for the Present

Federal spending is out of control—both obligations for the future and spending right now.

Congress must get spending under control in the long term. America cannot raise taxes to continue overspending, because tax hikes shrink our economy and grow our government. America cannot borrow more to continue overspending, because borrowing puts an enormous financial burden on the American children of tomorrow. A BBA will help address this long-term problem because, after the multi-year process for securing ratification of the BBA by three-quarters of the states, the BBA will keep federal spending under control in subsequent years.

Congress also must get spending under control in the short term. Federal overspending is not simply about the future, but also about the present. Under the President’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Submission, measured by the Congressional Budget Office, the federal government will spend $1.2 trillion more than it will take in, a gargantuan burden of additional debt forced on future generations to pay current bills.

Thus, America needs both a Balanced Budget Amendment for the long term and deep cuts in federal spending starting right now, without waiting for a BBA to take effect. As Congress considers budget resolutions, appropriations bills, appropriations continuing resolutions, and debt limit bills, Congress should take every opportunity now to cut federal spending, including for the biggest overspending problem: the ever-growing entitlement programs.

Congress should recognize that the best way to encourage state legislatures to ratify a BBA is to demonstrate, through consistent congressional cuts in spending, that the American people have the will to accept spending cuts to balance the budget.

Elements of a Successful Balanced Budget Amendment

A successful BBA will:

  • Control spending, taxing, and borrowing through a requirement to balance the budget.The BBA should cap annual spending at a level not exceeding either: (a) a specified percentage of the value of goods and services the economy produces in a year (known as gross domestic product, or GDP), or (b) the level of revenues. To ensure that Congress cannot simply balance the budget by continually raising taxes instead of cutting overspending, the BBA should require Congress to act by supermajority votes if Members wish to raise taxes. Any authority the BBA grants Congress to deal with economic slowdowns, by waiving temporarily the requirement that spending not exceed the GDP percentage or revenue level, should specify the amount of above-revenue spending allowed and require supermajority votes.
  • Defend America. The BBA should allow Congress by supermajority votes to waive temporarily compliance with the balanced budget requirement when waiver is essential to pay for the defense of Americans from attack.
  • Enforce the balanced budget requirement. The BBA should provide for its own enforcement, but must specifically exclude courts from any enforcement of the BBA, so unelected judges do not make policy decisions such as determining the appropriate level of funding for federal programs. A government that spends money in excess of its revenues must borrow to cover the difference. Therefore, to enforce the requirement to balance the budget, the BBA should prohibit government issuance of debt, except when necessary to finance a temporary deficit resulting from congressional supermajority votes discussed above.

America is in a fiscal crisis. Our government spends too much. Overspending must stop immediately. Overspending will stop only if Congress cuts spending now, including with respect to the ever-expanding entitlement programs. For the future, Congress and three-quarters of state legislatures can adopt and ratify a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to anchor the American willingness to live within a balanced budget.

David S. Addington is Vice President for Domestic and Economic Policy, and J. D. Foster, Ph.D., is Norman B. Ture Senior Fellow in the Economics of Fiscal Policy, at The Heritage Foundation.

Sixty Six who resisted “Sugar-coated Satan Sandwich” Debt Deal (Part 49)

Sixty Six who resisted “Sugar-coated Satan Sandwich” Debt Deal (Part 49)

This post today is a part of a series I am doing on the 66 Republican Tea Party favorites that resisted eating the “Sugar-coated Satan Sandwich” Debt Deal. Actually that name did not originate from a representative who agrees with the Tea Party, but from a liberal.

Rep. Emanuel Clever (D-Mo.) called the newly agreed-upon bipartisan compromise deal to raise the  debt limit “a sugar-coated satan sandwich.”

“This deal is a sugar-coated satan sandwich. If you lift the bun, you will not like what you see,” Clever tweeted on August 1, 2011.

National Security Cuts a Cause for Concern in Final Debt Deal

Representative Michael Turner of Ohio


Washington, Aug 2 

For months, Congress has been debating how to deal with the economic questions surrounding an increase in our debt limit. At a time when foreign nations own nearly $4.5 trillion of our $14.2 trillion debt – proposed cuts in the recently passed deal could have serious implications for our national security.  That’s why I was concerned that national security funding would be subject to an initial $175 billion cut in the final version of the Budget Control Act of 2011 that has been passed by Congress and signed by the President.

Throughout this debate I have advocated for our government to cut current spending and cap it at a responsible level so that we may balance our budget. We must remember though that in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, the founding fathers empowered Congress to: “Provide for the common Defense… To raise and support Armies … (and) To provide and maintain a Navy.” Fulfilling that obligation and meeting our budgetary responsibilities are not mutually exclusive. As a nation we should be able to provide for our defense and balance our budget. One should not come at the expense of the other.

This is a critical moment for both our nation and our armed forces. We have servicemembers deployed overseas in support of a number of military and humanitarian operations including Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. Those operations over the past 10 years have taken a toll on our forces. Currently, the Army needs $25 billion to reset its force right now, while the Marines need $12 billion. Our men and women in uniform are not only being asked to make further sacrifices with additional deployments, but in some cases they’re relying on equipment which is often older than they are. For example, Navy ships and light attack vehicles, on average, were built 20 years ago. In addition the Air Force is relying on bombers averaging 34 years in age and is refueling aircraft with tankers that are nearly 50 years old. 

An additional point of concern is that further cuts to defense are being used as a bargaining chip in a yet to be named Congressional “super-committee.” Twelve members of Congress from the House and Senate, both Democrats and Republicans, are required to find an additional $1.8 trillion in cuts. If the committee deadlocks on an agreement, or fails to complete its work by November 23rd of this year – then $281 billion in additional defense cuts automatically take effect. These cuts are unspecified and are an arbitrary number chosen to pressure the “super-committee” members into crafting an inadequate deal in fear of these cuts being enacted. I voted against this bill because I could not support a process which circumvents the normal legislative process and gambles with our national security.

Our military remains strong and morale among servicemembers remains high, but we cannot continue to operate with a strained force or we will not be able to meet the obligations of the future. In fact, the Vice-Chiefs of Staff of each of our braches of the military echoed this same sentiment at a hearing before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness. General Philip Breedlove, Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force stated that some components of the Air Force “are right at the ragged edge.”  Furthermore, additional proposed cuts of $281 billon in the bill would result in a “fundamental restructure of what it is our nation expects from our Air Force.”

Our national defense has always been a bipartisan issue in the halls of Congress. Members from both sides of the aisle recognize the role our military plays in both protecting this nation, and advancing the goals of our foreign policy. Subjecting this integral piece of our government to cuts, without thorough debate in committee and on the House floor, sets a dangerous precedent.

Celebrating the Constitution with Heritage Foundation

Brandon Stewart wrote an excellent article on the founding of the constitution:

This weekend America will celebrate Constitution Day, created to honor the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787, by the Constitutional Convention. Earlier this week, former Attorney General Ed Meese reflected on the importance ordinary citizens can play in preserving our Constitution:

The Constitution of the United States of America has endured over two centuries. It remains the object of reverence for nearly all Americans and an object of admiration by peoples around the world. Unfortunately, the assault by 20th century liberal theorists and activist judges has seriously undermined respect for America’s core principles, denigrating some constitutional rights they disagree with and making up others. Fortunately, there has been a renewed interest in the Constitution in recent years, as Americans seek to understand the founding principles and enduring truths that form the bedrock of our chosen form of self-government. Clearly, the future of liberty depends on America reclaiming its constitutional first principles.

As Meese explains, this was something President Ronald Reagan keenly understood. In a 1981 proclamation, Reagan explained the paramount importance of an engaged public:

Daniel Webster once wrote, “We may be tossed upon an ocean where we can see no land — nor, perhaps, the sun or stars. But there is a chart and a compass for us to study, to consult, and to obey. The chart is the Constitution.” September 17, 1981, marks the 194th anniversary of our Constitution. Its Framers scarcely could have conceived of the timelessness of the document they so carefully drafted. They prepared a Constitution to meet the needs of a fledgling nation. Yet today, amid the complexities of the twentieth century, that same Constitution, with only several amendments, serves a nation whose territory spans a continent and whose population exceeds two hundred and twenty-five million. With the passing of each year, it becomes increasingly evident that, in the words of Chief Justice John Marshall, our Constitution will “endure for ages to come.”

The Constitution establishes the Congress, the Executive, and the Judiciary, and through a deliberate allocation of authority, it defines the limits of each upon the others. It particularizes the liberties which, as free men and women, we insist upon, and it constrains both Federal and State powers to ensure that those precious liberties are faithfully protected. It is our blueprint for freedom, our commitment to ourselves and to each other.

It is by choice, not by imposition, that the Constitution is the supreme law of our Land. As we approach the bicentennial of this charter, each of us has a personal obligation to acquaint ourselves with it and with its central role in guiding our Nation. While a constitution may set forth rights and liberties, only the citizens can maintain and guarantee those freedoms. Active and informed citizenship is not just a right; it is a duty.

So this weekend, take a moment to read the Constitution, watch and share our video, take our short quiz, and reflect on the ways we can all work to promote this amazing document.

Brandon Stewart

As digital communications associate, Brandon Stewart blogs for The Foundry, assists with social media efforts, and produces a wide variety of videos