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U.S. National Debt:

Crapo, Risch Introduce Balanced Budget Amendment

Would Amend the Constitution to Force Annual Balanced Federal Budgets

Washington, D.C.--U.S. Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch (both R-Idaho) today joined U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi) and 12 additional co-sponsors in introducing a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring the President and Congress to enact annual balanced budgets.  The joint resolution proposes a constitutional amendment outlining requirements for the submission and approval of annual balanced budgets. 

“I have long supported a balanced budget amendment as an essential means to control the nation’s exploding debt,” said Senator Crapo.  “The Covid-19 pandemic has stifled an otherwise healthy and growing economy, and extraordinary spending measures were necessary to keep small businesses open, American families afloat and resources for health care flowing.  However, mandatory spending and entitlement programs account for nearly three-quarters of our national debt, and continue running unchecked and on autopilot.  I support measures to reform these programs, as well as efforts like this balanced budget amendment, to establish frameworks to rein in spending and address our nation’s fiscal health in the long-term.” 

“As we grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important that we address the country’s skyrocketing deficit,” said Senator Risch.  “In Idaho, we are required to balance our budget each fiscal year.  While other states have faced budget cuts of 20 to 40 percent during the pandemic, Idaho achieved a record budget surplus.  There is no excuse for the federal government to continue spending money that we don’t have.  That is why I support a constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget.  We must get serious about addressing the deficit and living within our means.” 

The legislation proposes a constitutional amendment that would:

  • Require the President to submit a balanced budget;
  • Require Congress to pass a balanced budget;
  • Restrict federal spending to 18 percent of the Gross Domestic Product;
  • Require two-thirds majority votes in the House and Senate to raise taxes; and
  • Require a new three-fifths majority vote in both houses of Congress to raise the debt limit. 

The joint resolution also includes certain spending waivers for use during wartime or imminent danger to national security. 

Original cosponsors of the measure include U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska), John Hoeven (R-North Dakota.), James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) and Todd Young (R-Indiana).