tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN November 17, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EST
if this balanced budget amendment passed. the events of these last 15 years have proved to us that this bill would have dramatic and dangerous consequences for our economic future. it would force the federal government to worsen economic recessions, since federal revenues fall while human needs rise in economic downturns, this bill would force spending cuts and tax increases at precisely the point when the economy is reeling, potentially turning a management downturn into a depression. essentially this bill would forbid countercyclical spending. had this amendment been on the books in the 2009, for example, we would not have passed the economic recovery act, which proved to be a critical response to the economic catastrophe that followed the financial crisis. one of the reasons that the recovery act was necessary is that state balanced budget amendments forced states to rely on federal funds in order to
make up for budget shortfalls that would have prompted cuts right at the time when state economies could least afford them. the federal government was effectively borrowing on behalf of the states that were constitutionally prohibited from doing so. but they desperatery -- desperately needed to in order to maintain their law enforcement, transportation, and their other responsibilities. even in texas where republican governor perry and the legislature opposed the recovery act, federal stimulus funds were used to close 97% of that state's budget gap. now that those dollars are gone, many states face a very serious budget crisis. can i have another 30 seconds? furthermore, house resolution 2 will require a 3/5 majority vote to raise the debt ceiling. this would have a catastrophic debt default like the one we have barely avoided this summer. given the polarization that we
are currently experiencing, i have severe doubts that the simple majority could be secured, either to respond to crises or raise the debt ceiling. this would require only a majority for deficit spending for wars such as the iraq war, which was never paid for, but a 3/5 majority to respond to domestic economic crisis. if this were enacted in 2012 it would require drastic, drastic cuts. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. moran: which would have unintended but dire consequences. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. moran: this is the wrong medicine for our ailing economy. the speaker pro tempore: i ask members to heed the gavel and the time. the gentleman from texas. mr. smith: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from south carolina, mr. gowdy, who is a distinguished member of the judiciary committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from south carolina is recognized for two minutes. mr. gowdy: i thank you, mr. speaker, and i thank chairman smith for his leadership on this issue and so many others on judiciary. mr. speaker, when one was
coming back from the trojan war, he was coming and many had come to the sound. so odysseus put wax in their ear and made him tie to the mass. against his will they made him tie him up and he did it because he lacked the will to restrain himself. and when people take our freedom, we recall, but when we have proven ourselves to be wholly incapable of exercising that freedom we should give it up. congress has proven itself to be hopelessly incapable of balancing the budget. we need to be made to do so because we cannot bring ourselves to make the hard decisions required. as my colleague and friend who's been leader on this issue, mr. goodlatte, mentioned
in his remarks six times in 50 years is laughable. you would do better than six out of 50 if you just guessed. six out of 50 is laughable. we are incapable of balancing our own budget. and when south carolina, mr. speaker, which does have a balanced budget requirement, was facing tough economic times, we had to cut public safety money to prosecutors. i had to cut and furlough employees who were making $19,000 a year. i had to furlough prosecutors who had $100,000 in student loans for seven days. that's a hard decision to make, but we had to do it for fiscal health. we need to make hard decisions even if there are career-ending decisions in this body and we have proven ourselves incapable of doing it so we must bind ourselves, even against our will. if i could have 10 more seconds, mr. speaker.
mr. smith: i'll yield the gentleman for 30 second. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. mr. gowdy: mr. speaker, we are $15 trillion in debt. we need to tie ourselves up before we wreck this republic, and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: thank you, mr. speaker. i'm pleased at this time to recognize the gentleman from new jersey, the distinguished leader in the congress, bill pascrell, for three minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey is recognized for three minutes. mr. pascrell: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you, mr. ranking member, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, this attempt to change the constitution of the united states is a real disaster. we all want to make sure we balance our budgets, but to compare our household budget to
the national budget is prepostruss. -- propostruss. alexander hamilton, who wrote so many of the federalist papers, i thought we understand a great leader, a great american, i thought we understood what the responsibilities of government are. but talking about disasters, what about natural disasters? how would a balanced budget amendment affect how the congress looks at when there is a tornado in joplin, a wipeout and flooding in new jersey, a hurricane in florida, wildfires in texas? the amendment requires this
balanced budget amendment, which is a joke to begin with, how you named it. it doesn't balance the budget. if it got through it would take seven years to implement. we have people out of work now. but anyway, the amendment requires a supermajority for every emergency spending in the case of natural disasters. let's take my state of new jersey. fema estimates that it will provide $400 million to help communities and individuals across the state recover and rebuild. last september we couldn't even get a majority, let alone a supermajority, to pass disaster aid unless it was offset with partisan budget cuts. every state will have to go through that. i want every state to know, you talk about the states, you talk about their budgets.
isn't it interesting in january of this year c.b.o. director wrote this -- amending the constitution to require this sort of balance raises risks. listen, my friends and my brothers and sisters, the fact that taxes fall when the economy weakens and spending and benefit programs increase, by nature they have to, people will need help unless we are not going to be a first rate republic. when the economy weakens, in an automatic way under existing law is an important stabilizing force for the aggregate economy. the fact that state governments need to work. against these effects in their own budgets need to take action to raise taxes -- mr. conyers: i yield the
gentleman 30 additional seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. mr. pascrell: thank you. the fact that state governments needs to take action to raise taxes or to cut spending in recisions. undoes the automatic stabilizers essentially at the state level. taking those away at the federal level risks making the economy less stable, risks exacerbating the business cycles. we did it together, democrats and republicans, 1998, 1999, 2000, we did it without an amendment to the constitution which will undermine this institution that we have here today. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from texas. the gentleman from texas. mr. smith: mr. speaker, i'll yield two minutes to my friend from california, mr. herger, who is a member of the ways and
means committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for two minutes. mr. herger: mr. speaker, the american people understand the basic principle that you can't spend money you don't have. they live that reality on a daily basis. unfortunately congress has disregarded this idea, choosing instead to imagine that it could spend money endlessly without harming our economy or standard of living. the result is that we're now an unthinkable $15 trillion, $15 trillion in debt. some argue that we don't need to amend the constitution for washington to do its job. i'm proud to say that i served in the budget committee in the late 1990's when we produced four consecutive balanced budgets. but the sad truth is that this kind of fiscal responsibility has been all too rare in recent
years. ultimately a balanced budget amendment will force congress to be serious about addressing the core driver of our debt which is the out-of-control growth of federal entitlement spending. as the president has acknowledged, no taxpayer will be willing to pay the amount required to sustain the exponential growth of entitlements and no amount of budget gimmicks can hide this serious crisis. a balanced budget is a commonsense idea that governs our personal lives and it should also be at the heart of how congress operates. i strongly support the balanced budget amendment, and i urge the house to pass it. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i'm pleased to recognize judy chu,
a member of the judiciary committee from california, for three minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from california is recognized for three minutes. ms. chu: proponents of this bill claims this is about fiscal responsibility but it is the opposite. this bill makes it impossible, in fact, unconstitutional, for the government to save for the future. under this bill programs like social security or long-term federal highway projects would have to be completely eliminated to comply with the constitution. today, american workers put money into a social security trust fund built to pay and save for future benefits. but under this short siggeted -- shortsighted constitutional amendment, money must be paid out the same year. that means you can't have a social security trust fund. so goodbye, social security.
goodbye, savings for retirement. let me tell you how bad this idea is. let's say for a moment that this was your family's budget. if this constitutional budget amendment applied to you, you would have to spend everything you earn in the same year. no college fund or i.r.a. no savings account to put a down payment on a house or god forbid to pay for expensive medical treatment. not only is that ludicrous, it is tragic. if that weren't bad enough, if this constitutional amendment goes through and no revenues are raised, all government programs will suffer a 17.3% cut. that's a $1.2 trillion reduction in social security payments through 2021. that is nearly a 20% reduction that would directly hurt current and future retirees and senior citizens for the next decade. this so-called balanced budget
amendment balances overzealous budget slashing on the backs of our citizens and future retirees. does congress really want to send a message now in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the great depression that saving for the future is un constitutional? does congress want to abandon americans now? i do not. i urge my colleagues to oppose this reckless constitutional amendment. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back her time. the gentleman from texas. mr. smith: i yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from virginia, mr. goodlatte. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. mr. goodlatte: i thank you, mr. chairman. i want to make it clear. some inaccurate assertions have been made about the social security and the highway trust fund. the funds can be spent each year and any excess funds that need to be retained can be put into a rainy day fund, and so the social security trust fund
or another type of fund like that is perfectly permissible under this provision. what is not permissible is continuing to run up debt year after year after year, and that is what endangers social security and medicare and important programs for our senior citizens and that's why this amendment is needed. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from texas. mr. smith: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from georgia, mr. barrow, who is a member of the energy and commerce committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia is recognized for two minutes. mr. barrow: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to thank the chairman for yielding me time. mr. speaker, i rise in support of the balanced budget amendment which i have supported since i first came to congress. . we agree our nation's debt is unsustainable and folks are struggling to find work. the facts are stubborn things and it's a fact that balancing the budget is essential if we are going to protect the future of our children and
grandchildren. balancing will create the stability our economy needs. amending our constitution is not something to take lightly. we shouldn't do it on a whim or because it's politically expedient. amending the constitution is something we as a nation should undertake when it is truly needed. unfortunately, congress has demonstrated that it cannot and will not balance the budget on its own and it is truly needed now. every state in the union has a balanced budget amendment. families have to bring their income in the the balance and so can the federal government. this legislation is bipartisan, it is responsible and right thing to do and i hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join me and the blue dog coalition in supporting the balanced budget amendment. and with that, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: i yield to jerry nadler for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is
recognized for one minute. mr. nadler: i have to correct what the gentleman from virginia said a moment ago when he said it would not affect social security because social security would be protected by the trust fund. this amendment says outlays can't exceed receipts. that includes social security, which the courts have held is not a debt. therefore, social security would have to be paid out of the same amounts and there would be cap against the outlays to determine whether the budget is imbalance something that is not in case today. and would require deeper cuts. if the -- if this amendment were in effect today, medicare would have to be cut by $750 billion, social security by $1.2 trillion. veteran benefits, 85 billion despite anyone may say on the floor, that's the simple truth
of this amendment. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: i yield to ms. berkley for two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. berkley: i rise in strong opposition to this dangerous balanced budget constitutional amendment. we all agree that we must get america's fiscal house in order by cutting spending and balancing our budget. nevada families know this. families across nevada are doing it by tightening their belts and making great sacrifices. the united states government should be able to do the same. however this balanced budget amendment is wrong for nevada and it's wrong for the rest of the country. it would force massive cuts to social security, medicare and veterans' benefits. but the oil companies and corporations that ship jobs overseas aren't asked to sacrifice one penny under this
amendment. that's just not right. but this is what the american people have come to expect from this congress. republicans supported a radical budget proposal, the ryan budget that turns medicare to private insurance companies and they are proposing to slash social security and medicare benefits that seniors rely on. it's a question of priorities. i believe we need to get our deficit under control and i believe that a version of the balanced budget amendment could be one way to achieve that, but i cannot and will not support a balanced budget amendment that doesn't include iron-clad protections for social security, medicare and veteran benefits. we shouldn't be balancing the our nation's budget. this may be good politics for some, but it is not good policy for america. and i urge my colleagues to join me in voting no on this attack on our seniors and our veterans. i yield back.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back her time. the gentleman from texas. mr. smith: mr. speaker, i yield 1 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from oklahoma, mr. lanching ford, who is a -- lankford. mr. lankford: 27 times united states constitution has been amended. something we do rarely and something we should think through in the process. we do it only because it is absolutely required and we have common agreement across the house, senate and the american people. this is one of those moments. if you ask every american on the street, should we balance our budget, they will nod your head. if you ask them again, should we force congress to balance the budget? again, they will say yes, this is something we should do. there is common agreement across the american people. it's common sense. it's hard to explain why they have to balance their budget and
congress does not. ultimate exemption that they can spend as much as they want as often they would like without any retribution. i hear statements that if we balanced the budget what would happen if we had to live within our means. makes me smile and say, just like every business, every family, we have to make hard choice is and we have to do it. but it's not what doomsday prediction happens when we balance our budget. it is look up across the ocean in what is happening in europe right now, the nations that did not balance their budget. and for some reason we think we can run up as much debt as we would like with no consequence and we are fooling ourselves. doomsday is coming and must put a boupped dry to balance our budget. in 1995, when this tailed by one vote, we will forever regret that if this occurs again. it's time for us to balance our budget.
i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: i yield to the distinguished gentlelady from ohio, ms. fudge, two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from ohio is recognized for two minutes. ms. fudge: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i rise today to speak in opposition to the balanced budget amendment, despite its name, this amendment does not balance the budget. it would have little effect on our deficit but could harm our economy. it would destroy jobs, drastically cut medicare and social security and unconstitutionally give federal judges the power to make spending decisions. and this amendment does not even require a balanced budget every year. what it does is make it easier to cut taxes and more difficult to raise taxes in order to allocate money to important programs that protect our veterans, our seniors and our most vulnerable. it could also allow federal judges to have the final say on
taxing and spending decisions. no one knows if amending the constitution could requireal balanced budget will reduce the debt or prevent the debt from growing in the future. when democrats control congress, pay-go was affecttive and what we know that this amendment is not the answer. if a balanced budget requirement were to go into effect, it would destroy jobs. cuts would come to about $1.5 trillion in 2012. this would throw 15 million more americans out of work, double the unemployment rate to approximately 18% and cause the economy to shrink by 17%. republicans as part of their budget proposal have made it clear, they want to cut medicare, medicaid and social security. by requiring a balanced budget these programs would be directly
on the chopping block. according to the center on budget and policy priorities, this amendment could force congress to cut all programs by an average of 17.3% by 2018. if revenues are not raised, medicare could be cut by $750 billion. democrats have balanced the budget before and we will do it again without harming the economy. this amendment is nothing more than a republican political diversion and i urge my colleagues to vote no. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentlelady has expired. the gentleman from texas. mr. smith: i yield 1 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from texas. mr. fortenberry: i don't take the issue lightly of amending our constitution which has endured through strife and dramatic historical shifts. the constitutional amendments should be exceedingly rare. as they have the power to spur
sweeping change. but i do believe it is necessary that the same process that guaranteed our hallmark freedoms of speech and religion and freedom from slavery be used to protect our children and future generations from economic collapse. most states, including nebraska have enacted balanced budget requirements. my state has to live within its means. the federal government needs to do the same. mr. speaker, we are standing at history's door. we can either lead and be bold, making the hard decisions necessary to correct this fiscal trajectory or stay in our time war and political lanes staying with the status quo that has given this nation this unsustainable debt burden. we could do something big for this country and our future and make deficit spending a thing of the past. this is a significant moment. i urge that we pass this bill.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i'm pleased now to recognize the gentlelady from illinois, january schakowsky, for -- jan schakowsky for two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. schakowsky: i rise in opposition to the balanced budget amendment. president clinton office with not just a balanced budget but with a surplus and got there by a one-vote margin, no republican votes whatsoever. and here we are today after eight years and two wars and two tax cuts that were paid for on the credit card, namely benefiting the wealthy and devastating recession that could have been prevented by financial regulators not turned a blind eye to wall street and we are
debating an amendment to the constitution that offers anything but balance. this amendment would destroy the budget, and in the process wipe out jobs. and aadvice rate social security, medicare, medicaid, stinded unemployment benefits as well as cancer research, bridge repair and food inspection and you name a program and this amendment will put it at risk. balanced budget amendment could force congress to cut all programs by an average of 17.3% by 2018. this amendment would limit the ability of the federal government to respond to national crises, including an economic or natural disaster and virtually guarantee that recessions turn into depressions. this amendment would require a supermajority to raise a debt ceiling a reckless requirement considering how we came close to defaulting. and i'm tired of hearing republicans say, well, states and families must balance their
budgets, so should the federal government. the states have to balance their operating budgets but can still borrow for capital projects and families have to manage their budgets but can do so by incurring debt, home mortgages, car loans, student loans. this amendment blocks the federal government from making investments in the same way. and suppose in 2008 when the deficit seemed manageable, we had a balanced budget america. the effect on the economy would be catastrophic if the 2012 balanced budget were balanced suspending cuts. those cuts it is predicted by economic advisers -- mr. conyers: i yield the gentlelady 15 seconds. ms. schakowsky: macroeconomics, said that those cuts would throw about 15 million more people out of work, double the unemployment
rate from 9% to 18% and cause the economy to shrink by about 17% instead of growing. this will make the economy worse. vote no. mr. smith: i yield two minutes to the gentlelady from washington. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for two minutes. mrs. mcmorris rodgers: i appreciate the gentleman for yielding. james madison said the trickiest question that the constitutional convention confronted was how to object lying a government to control -- oblige a government to control itself. it offers us many, many examples of nations that spent, borrowed and taxed their way to economic ruin and bankruptcy. and history is screaming to us a warning that nations that bankrupt themselves aren't around very long because before
you can provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty, you have to be able to pay for it. today, i rise in strong support of the balanced budget amendment. this last weekend i read the 1995 judiciary committee report that passed the resolution at that time. the same justifications put forward against the balanced budget amendment in 1995 are the same ones we hear today. the report high lites 4.7 trillion debt in 1995. discusses the implications of a $200 billion interest payment. i only wish those were the debt levels we are responding to today. what this comparison means we haven't corrected the government spending problem on our own. our debt has tripled and interest payments more than doubled in the last two decades. all we have to show for over that time is that we have a
spending problem. in fact, we have an addiction and i don't see it going away unless we pass this. where would we be today if the balanced budget amendment had passed the senate in 1997 and had been sent to the states? i guarantee we wouldn't be facing a total debt of $15 trillion or $450 billion interest payment. where would we be five to 10 years from now without a balanced budget amendment? i urge my colleagues to support this amendment. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentlelady has expired. the gentleman from texas. michigan, i apologize. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i yield to the former chair of the progressive caucus, lynn woolsey, the gentlelady from california, two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from california is recognized for two minutes. .
ms. woolsey: earlier economist bruce bartlett, who served in the reagan and bush administrations, had this to say about an earlier republican balanced budget amendment. he said, and i quote him, it looks like it was drafted by a couple of interns on the back of a napkin. grant it, he was talking about a different version, but i still say that was pretty unfair to interns who i think could do a lot better than this amendment that we're debating today. if the balanced budget were in place today it would cripple the economy and decimate social security, medicare, veterans' programs, among many others. the austerity dogma of the republican majority, their balanced budget fetish is hurting america, not helping it. we need more federal dollars pumped into this economy. we need it to stimulate demand and to create jobs.
we don't need less. if you get caught in a rainstorm, i mean, i wouldn't want to be caught in the rainstorm with the other -- anybody on the other side of the aisle because i'd be afraid that they'd propose a constitutional amendment banning umbrellas. called me old-fashioned, mr. speaker, but i think amending the constitution is a pretty big deal. it should be reserved for correcting gross injustices and expanding fundamental rights. for decades i've been those pushing for a constitutional amendment that enshrines the notion that women should be treated equally. republicans want no part of that, but they're eager for a constitutional amendment that shreds the safety net and could cause another recession for our country. no, thanks. vote no on this balanced budget amendment. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back her time. the gentleman from texas. mr. smith: mr. speaker, i'll yield two minutes to the gentleman from mississippi, mr.
nunnelee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from mississippi is recognized for two minutes. mr. nunnelee: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you, mr. chairman. before i came to this body, i chaired the appropriations committee in the mississippi senate. i worked with my counterpart in the other chamber, democrat, chairman johnny stringer. we crafted three balanced budget because chairman stringer had a principle that you can't spend more money than you take in. one thing i learned is that there are always more needs, more requests than there are available resources. and that fact causes you to make some difficult decisions. we made those difficult decisions in the mississippi state house. in fact, there are 49 states that require that around the nation. municipal, county governments are making those difficult decisions. more importantly, families are
making those decisions sitting around the kitchen table, and small businesses are making those decisions tonight. and if there are willing to live within their means, they have every reason to expect their government in washington to do the same thing. this balanced budget amendment has been a dream of leaders in this body since thomas jefferson. 16 years ago we had bipartisan support and came within one vote of getting it adopted. i welcome the support of those democrats that are stepping up and giving bipartisan support to this measure. we must have a balanced budget amendment to rein in spending so that we can create jobs. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from mississippi yields back his time. the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, steny hoyer has been working in leadership for many years. he is now our distinguished whip, and i recognize him for
five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland is recognized for five minutes. mr. hoyer: i thank the chairman for yielding. mr. speaker, in 1995 i spoke on the floor in support of a balanced budget amendment. that was 16 years ago. there's a lot of water over the bridge since that time. i said then and i quote, i do so because i believe that this country confronts a critical threat caused by the continuation of large annual deficits. i believe that then. and i believe it now. and i voted against tax cuts that weren't paid for. i voted against social security benefits that weren't paid for. and i voted against other items that weren't paid for. i stand by my 1995 statement today. however, as i have said, events in the last 16 years lead me to oppose today's bill -- balanced
budget amendment. only months after we had that debate, my republican colleagues shut down the government. in 1997 we passed an amendment with bipartisan agreement reaffirming the 1990 agreement that we would have a pay-go process in place. and without having passed a balanced budget amendment, we did in fact balance the budget four years in a row. why? because we paid for what we bought, we didn't cut revenues before we cut spending, and we restrained spending four years in a row. i tell my republican friends, none of you in your lifetime has lived during the course of a president who had four balanced budgets. were you personally responsible?
absolutely. were we personally responsible? absolutely -- partially responsible? absolutely. we didn't need an amendment. we needed the will and the courage. without having passed that balanced budget amendment under president clinton, not only were we able to balance the budget but we also achieved the only president term in the lifetime of anybody in this chamber or listening to me that had four years of balance and a net surplus. hear me. a net surplus at the end of 96 months as president of the united states. we made it happen not with a balanced budget amendment but because we had the will to do so and by following pay-go rules. sadly, i tell my colleagues and the american people, mr. speaker, under president bush republicans exploded the deficit and abandoned pay-go.
along with the principle that we ought to pay for what we buy. we do not have a spending problem or a revenue problem. we have a pay-for problem. the republican congress spent enormous sums on two wars, a prescription drug program, and tax cuts without paying for them. if you have the courage of your convictions, you pay for things. spending levels nearly twice the inflation rate that bill clinton's rose and spending during the eight years of the bush administration. when republicans were in charge of everything for six years and vetoing everything we did for two. when the financial crisis hit in 2008, president bush told us that if we failed to act there
would be a high risk of depression. what did the president's party do? you say you have a 3/5 vote if there's an emergency. president bush told us that if we did not act there would be a depression. and in fact we had a vote. and that vote was 205-228 with 2/3 of the president's party voting against the president in what he called a crisis. that gives me, i tell my friends on the republican side, no confidence that in time of danger and crisis that we could summon 3/5 vote. i believed in 1995 we could summon those votes because, frankly, we were a much more bipartisan and in my opinion responsible body, but i do not have that confident today. and i am not prepared to take that risk. my party, of course, voted with
president bush because we thought there was a crisis. now, a few days after that we came back to vote and we did pass it, but i tell my friend -- may i have an additional minute? mr. conyers: i grant one additional minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland is recognized for one additional minute. mr. hoyer: i tell my friends that even on the second vote when we did in fact pass that bill that president bush asked us to pass because there was a crisis, he could not summon the majority of your party to support him. barely 3/5 notwithstanding the president's assertion of crisis voted to meet that crisis with 172 democrats voting with president bush in a bipartisan response to crisis. earlier this year, again, in control of the house, republicans brought the government to the brink of shutdown over the summer we saw
them almost at the brink of default. i have not changed my beliefs about balancing the budget, and i invite all of you to vote with me on paying for things that we buy, not passing those onto my children, my grandchildren and my two great grandchildren. we have shown we can do it. we balanced the budget for four years. don't talk about it. just do it. don't spend the -- don't refuse to pay for it. don't cut taxes and increase spending. 10 additional seconds. mr. conyers: granted. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for 10 additional seconds. mr. hoyer: don't just preach fiscal responsibility. practice it. it will take no courage to vote
for this amendment, but it will take courage to balance our budget by paying for what we buy. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from texas. mr. smith: mr. speaker, i yield myself 15 seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for 15 seconds. mr. smith: mr. speaker, i want to point out for the record that all of the balanced budgets during the clinton administration was during a republican control of congress. mr. hoyer: will my friend yield? the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from michigan is recognized for -- mr. hoyer: i guess my friend won't yield. host: the gentlelady from michigan is recognized for two minutes. -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from michigan is recognized for two minutes. mrs. miller: our constitution sat bedrock foundation for this, the united states of america, the greatest nation on earth. and, mr. speaker, our founding fathers and their genius
provided us a way to amend the constitution to deal with the changing world. james madison, who of course is widely seen as the father of the constitution, once said that a public debt is a public curse. in 1995, this house passed a very similar balanced budget amendment to the one we are considering today, the amendment received 300 votes in this house but failed by one vote in the u.s. senate. since then our national debt has grown by nearly $9 trillion. yes, $9 trillion, including $4 trillion in new debt in just the last three years. and today the debt is over $15 trillion. and the fact of the matter is that our public debt has become the public curse of which madison warned us. the american people understand that this level of debt is not sustainable and that is why they overwhelmingly support this balanced budget amendment. and today we have a choice, mr. speaker. do we answer the call of the american people and embrace
fiscal responsibility or do we continue the status quo of more spending and more borrowing and more debt? it's time for this congress to use the tools our founding fathers gave us, mr. speaker, to amend the constitution to save further generations from the shackles of unsustainable debt. i ask my colleagues to join me in supporting this commonsense amendment to balance our federal budget. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back her time. the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i yield to the distinguished gentleman from st. louis, missouri, lacy clay, two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from missouri is recognized for two minutes. mr. clay: i thank my friend from michigan for yielding. . my democratic colleagues have spoken and will speak eloquently on the numbers. they will or have pointed to the millions of jobs and the balanced budget amendment would certainly destroy.
however, i want to talk about the personal impact of this irresponsible legislation. for example, social security recipients should not be held responsible for congress' reckless acts. radically cutting social security hurts americans, drastically cutting medicare hurts americans. enormous cuts to defense and homeland security, food stamps, veterans' pensions and supplemental security income for the elderly, disabled, hurts americans. it hurts america and makes us less safe and secure. and make no mistake, this legislation requires these massive cuts. some have claimed that these cuts will not be necessary under this legislation or worse, that they are necessary and good. they claim that cutting benefits
to the most vulnerable americans is good, that destroying jobs, destroying lives is good. mr. speaker, it is not. it is not good. it is not good to balance the budget on the backs of those who can least bear the burden. it is not good to balance the budget by taking away from those who have so little. this is exactly what the balance the budget amendment would do and it takes away from medical care for seniors. that means more of our elderly unable to afford their medication, unable to get needed tests and treatment and more americans hurting. it destroys jobs. that means more americans out of work, more americans unable to pay their bills, and more american families -- and more american families hurting.
hubert humphrey said it best. the moral test of government is how government treats those in the dawn of their life, the children. those in the twilight of their life, the elderly and those in the shadows of life, the sick, needy and disabled. this reckless legislation fails all tests. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from texas. mr. smith: i yield two minutes to the the gentlewoman from washington. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for two minutes. ms. herrera beutler: chimp hill said americans can be counted on to do the right thing after they have exhausted all other possibilities. it applies to this institution. what have we tried? we have tried billion dollar bailouts for auto companies and wall street fat cats, not for main street. we have done bailouts for auto
makers and thrown money at everything and have added so much to our national debt in the last four years. republicans did it, too. doesn't make it right. so, are we better than we were four years ago? no. in southwest washington state, we still have rampant unemployment and joblessness. i'm no economist and not the distinguished minority leader who i respect. i'm just an average american but understand a very simple truth, you cannot spend more than you have. that's all this amendment does. that's it. we aren't cutting social security. we aren't cutting medicare. we are actually protecting those programs by saying this federal government is going to live within the money that it takes from the taxpayers every year, no more, no less. it's very, very simple. you don't have to be an economist to understand that if you spend more money than you have every year, you have a
problem. our problem is $15 trillion worth of back-breaking debt. we don't have to look much further than europe to know that no country can exist under debt like this for too long. we are taking steps putting side boards on the reckless spending. we are uping the credit card that is going to break the back of the american people. i urge my colleagues to join us in bipartisan solutions that will bring an opportunity for america to prosper and succeed. a no vote is putting people under and putting politics above. we need to reverse that and put people above politics and urge a yes vote. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: i yield myself as much as much time as i may consume. the gentlelady from washington,
i listened to her very carefully, and she has promulgated one of the greatest misunderstandings in this debate, namely that the social security and highway trust fund are not jeopardized by house joint resolution 2, because section 7 excludes repayment of debt principle from the definition of total outlays. according to the center of budget and policy priorities, the balanced budget amendment could result in medicare being cut by about $750 billion, social security, almost $1.2 trillion and the veterans'
benefits, $85 billion through 2021 if cuts were spread proportionately. so i hope that there will be fewer and fewer of my colleagues of trying to assure us that this bill does not jeopardize those programs. this is from the center on budget and policy priorities. and i reserve the balance of my time. and i yield to the distinguished member of the committee, sheila jackson lee, for three minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from texas is recognized for three minutes. ms. jackson lee: i thank the speaker and i thank the ranking member of this committee. many of us could spend a lot of time on educating the public on
just what is occurring. we cherish this little book that has lasted and this nation for some -- more than -- more than centuries than we can count as this document was written and the question was asked whether it could last and we cite the united states as the longest democracy, holding on to a constitution that provides us with the opportunity to even be here. but it is important to note that in order to amend the constitution, the founding fathers were so serious about how important an action this would be that they indicated that there should be 2/3 votes from both the house and the senate and three-quarters of our states, the people of the united states must likewise answer the call. frankly, let me make a
pronouncement. the american people will not answer this foolish call. and they will recognize whether it's supercommittees, tea parties and others that want to distract to the reasonable approach to budgeting which is revenue enhancement and serious reform, they know the way they do their budget is thoughtfulness and not rushing to judgment. a headline on the markup of our bill in committee, though -- it says sheila jackson lee can't slow down republican balanced budget amendment freight train. that train keeps coming and there are many bloody bodies left along the way. our federal reserve chairman said we don't want to cut. chairman bernanke said you need to be carbous about sharp cuts in every near term because of the potential impact on the recovery that doesn't preclude
in fact and i believe it's entirely consistent with a longer term program that will bring our budget into a sustainable position. and so for us to this route, it means that even in a war, it is a complicated process of a majority vote, even beside the declaration of war, even in an emergency when our soldiers are needing more resources, we have to come to this body and stop and wait for our soldiers to get what their resources are. we have to stop and wait for our veterans to get the resources that they need, while veterans' hospitals are closing, we will be fiddling around and the freight train of the balanced budget amendment will drive over the veterans, the soldiers, the president who is trying to save
this nation, homeland security resources that are needed, because we want it to be a political grandstanding for a balanced budget amendment. we balanced the budget in 1993. some suffered politically. we got the budget balanced in 1997 and some suffered politically but the democrats knew how to do it. let's come together and balance the budget and ignore a complicated, ludicrous process that the founding fathers said stop, wait, do the right thing. do your job, not an amendment to the constitution. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas. mr. smith: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from colorado, mr. coffman? mr. coffman: i have served overseas, two of them in combat. what has struggled me is
testimony by former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff who said the greatest threat to the united states is our national debt. not -- he didn't say it was al qaeda. he didn't say it was some foreign power or terrorist. he said the greatest threat to the united states is right here. the greatest threat to the united states is the decades of out-of-control spending by the congress of the united states that is bringing down this country. and we have an opportunity today to change that. we have an opportunity today to put the discipline in place that we aren't going to go down the path of greece. i would ask the members of this body to show the same courage and determination that the young
men and women show who serve our country in defense of our freedom every day. to do the right thing. and to vote for a balanced budget to the united states constitution. if not now, when? let us vote for this. let us put this country down the right track and let us not be the greatest threat to the united states. mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: i recognize the the gentleman is recognized -- i recognize the gentleman from oregon, mr. blumenauer, for two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. blumenauer: i appreciate my friend with the permission to speak on this. and i'm here in honor of the
memory of the late, and i think great united states senator from oregon, republican mark hatfield. when the balanced budget amendment freight train was moving through congress in 1995 and a number of people piled on, it passed here overwhelmingly, but failed in the united states senate by one vote. and the only republican who voted no was senator mark hatfield, who was chair of the appropriations committee, who understood that he was visited repeatedly by some of the most ardent proponents of a, quote, balanced budget imperative
opportunning for special treatment. senator hatfield understood that had that amendment been approved, it would have been been an excuse for people to feel they had done their job and go about continuing business as usual. he took a lot of heat. he, in fact, offered his resignation to bob dole offering in fact, to resign, reducing the number of senators and the balanced budget amendment would have passed. . . he voted against it, it failed, what happened. we were able to move forward under a democratic administration to be able to rein in spending. we balanced the budget four consecutive years. what happened was when the republicans took over,
restraint was lost, deficits skyrocketed and they put in place tax cut and spending policies that drive the deficit to this day. reject this phony solution, stand up, provide a balance of increased revenues and program cuts, don't pretend something that you're not doing, that's not enforceable, as an excuse to avoid our responsibilities. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas. mr. smith: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from tennessee, mr. cooper, a member of the armed services committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. cooper: the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff mike mullen said that our worst enemy is not any foreign power or al qaeda. it's our own national debt. that's right, it's official now. congress has become basically
america's worst enemy. i wish we would take it upon ourselves to cut spending to balance budgets. we are failing in doing that. and we've failed repeat think. i wish the supercommittee would come up with a super solution, but that does not look likely. i regret we are at the stage where we need a balanced budget amendment. i regret we're at the stage of partisanship, where just 10 years ago, 72 democrats voted for this, including two of the three top members of our leadership. we have to live within our means. the nation's future is at stake. it's sad that we have become so lame that we need this crutch but we need it. america's overspending, our obesity in this body is so great that we have become america's greatest obesity problem. the balanced budget amendment is the right dial.
i yield -- right diet. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman -- >> i have a unanimous consent request. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. smith: i ask unanimous consent that the gentleman from virginia, mr. goodlatte, control the remainder of the time. the speaker pro tempore: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: i yield to the distinguished gentleman from illinois, danny davis, for two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. davis: thank you, mr. speaker. a balanced budget amendment to the constitution represents bad economics and bad social policy. the ability to borrow helps our states and citizens, is a critical tool to aid our nation during economic crises. one of the most egregious consequences of this bill is the dangerous cuts to social
security, medicaid, and medicare and other safety net programs that would result. given the vast deficit that exists due to reckless tax cuts for the wealthy this bill will achieve balance on the backs of the elderly, the poor, an the disabled. to achieve balance in the short-term, massive reductions to critical safety net programs would have to occur. $750 billion in cuts from medicare, $1.2 trillion from social security, and $85 billion from veterans benefits through 2021. dramatic cuts to other safety net protections for citizens such as food stamps and supplemental security for the disabled poor and elderly would -- for the disabled, poor, and elderly would almost certainly occur. to add instult o-- insult to injury, nonpartisan economists estimate that a balanced budget
amendment would eliminate 15 million jobs an shrink the economy by 15%. catastrophic economic losses at the same time that federal safety programs to support citizens experiencing such hardships. this is a terrible piece of legislation. it's a bad bill. i could not, would not, and i don't think anybody should vote for it. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from viverage is -- virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: at this time it's my pleasure to yield one and a half minutes to mr. duncan, a member of the natural resources committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one and a half minutes. mr. duncan: thank you, mr. speaker. i simply ask, are you better off today than where you were $4 there will ago? i say not. i come to the floor today to
discuss the most porn issue we'll take up this year, that is a balanced budget amendment to the united states constitution. for much too long, congress has allowed mountains of debt to pile upon our children and grandchildren. we're in debt to the tune of $15 trillion an we continue to spend in excess of $1 trillion more than we're bringing in each year. now in the short time i've been a member of congress, it's evident to me that washington will never voluntarily make the significant cuts to spending. that's why we need to pass a balanced budget amendment that forces washington to do what families and small businesses do each and every year and that's live within its means. and stop the spending insanity. it's common sense. not spending more than you have. but maybe that's too simple for those who gain some sort of power from providing the services that our nation cannot afford, spending money that we don't have. a balanced budget amendment,
the right bill at the right time for america to regain control of its finances. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i yield to the distinguished gentleman from new jersey, rob andrews, for a period of two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey is recognized for two minutes. mr. andrews: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. andrews: thank you, mr. speaker. when the congress doesn't want to do something, it forls a committee. that doesn't appear to be working. then when it doesn't want to do something, it kicks the can down the road and sets up process where somebody else does the hard thing. that's what we're doing here tonight. if you want to balance the budget, then vote to tell the federal operating departments to do with 5% or 10% less money than they got last year. i'm prepared to do that. if you want to balance the
budget, save money in the medicare program by saying medicare can negotiate prices of prescription drugs the way the v.a. does. and save billions of dollars on prescription costs. i'm prepared to do that. if you want to balance the budget, bring the troops home from afghanistan sooner. since we have the ability to blow up the world 24 times, let's not pay for weapons that blow it up a 25th time. let's not have 90,000 troops in europe and korea, defending against an enemy that largely doesn't exist anymore. if you want to balance the budget, then vote to tell the hedge fund managers and all these other people making all this money that maybe they should just pay a little bit more in taxes into the federal treasury. all the heart felt, pius -- pious speeches tonight won't save $1. but the thing is talked about
would. they're difficult, they're controversial, but they're real. so let's not fool the american public that some process that somebody else, someday, might follow will balance the budget. if you want to balance the budget, vote to cut spending, you may have ways that i didn't outline, i would like to hear them. if you want to balance the budget, vote for some people who can afford it to pay more. do something real. that will create the balanced budget, the confidence, and the jobs the american people need. not just another empty, hollow, meaningless political debate. the right action is to balance the budget and the right vote on this bill is no. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: at this time, i'm pleased to yield two minutes to the distinguished gentleman from north carolina, the ranking member of the sea power subcommittee of the armed services committee, mr.
mcintyre. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. mcintyre: thank you, mr. chairman, thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in support of h.j.res. 2, a balanced budget amendment. it is critical that we pass this important legislation to improve our nation's economic health and national security. $48,570, that's the price we're putting on the head of every american. the portion every man, woman, and child owes today to pay our of nation's skyrocketing federal debt. it's said that our children and future generations will pay for the choices we make today but we are incurring debt at such a rapid pace we'll begin to pay that price sooner than expected. we'll pay now as well as later. as public debt continues to grow, including borrowing from foreign nations such as china, interest costs alone are soaring into the stratosphere.
our economy, our military strength and the opportunity for future growth are at risk if this problem is not addressed more quickly. that's why i stand here today to support this h.j.res. 2, a balanced budget amendment. since first coming to washington in 1997, i have co-sponsored legislation that would adopt a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. this critical legislation would require the federal government to balance its budget like most states are required to do. in fact, 49 of the 50 states have some form of a balanced budget requirement. 10 this is not something novel or unusual. it's something that makes common sense. including my home state of north carolina, has one of the most stringent requirements to do so. let's stand together today for common sense. let's send a message to the american people that we can keep our fiscal house in order, that we can balance our budget and we can do the right thing with the american taxpayers' dollar and put our nation on a
path of economic strength and vitality. i yield the are maineder of my time. -- the remainder of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: i'm pleased to yield to another gentleman from north carolina, david price, for three minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman -- without objection, the gentleman from north carolina is recognized for three minutes. mr. price: mr. speaker, i rise to oppose the tea party caucus' latest attempt to deregulate fiscal policy. i understand the appeal of a simple, sound bite friendly solution to all that ails us. some people think balancing the budget is just a matter of cutting foreign aid or a flat income tax. many of my colleagues have stoked such nonsense and similar claims that are mathematically impossible. they know that balancing bethe budget through cuts alone would require eliminating every penny of discretionary spending.
i don't believe that's what they want. why then would they vote for this amendment? there's no real risk in establishing the constitutional requirement that can't be enforced and would likely never, ever produce a balanced budget. it would make balance harder to achieve. it does nothing to create jobs or strengthen the economy and it would put social security and medicare and medicaid in real jeopardy but in the short-term proponents are counting on a political payoff. they will be brandishing their aye vote as proof they're the most fiscally responsible folks in the land. in fact, these emperors have no clothes. many of my colleagues seem to have forgotten this, but we balanced the budget once before, not long ago. it started with a poirn vote in 1990 and the subsequent vote by democrats aloan in 1993. our country not only had a balance budget but ran four years of surpluses and did it without a balanced budget amendment. in fact, if the amendment we are considering tonight had
been in place then, these critical agreements would have failed. the other lesson of the 1990's is that the best cure for budget deficits is a healthy economy. here, too, the so-called balanced budget amendment would make things worse. tiing our hands during periods of economic downturn our high unemployment, locking in recessions, making them deeper. mr. speaker, in earlier years we had some true fiscal conservatives in this body. they knew raresing the revenue needed to invest in our people and secure our economic success was a lot wiser than drawing ideological lines in the sand. they tnt need a balanced budget amendment to take tough votes, make compromises or stand up for the future of our nation in the face of uncompromising pledges demanded by some group or another. as we watch the supercommittee on the brink of failure, i don't know what further proof we need that there isn't a silver bullet in the fight for fiscal security. the real answer, and i believe
my colleagues know this well, isn't a matter of gimmickry, it's about mustering the political will to do the right thing. i understand it's hard to revolt against king norquist but any tea party worthy of its name ought to be prepared to challenge the monarchy, not to do its bidding. i urge my colleagues to vote against this amendment. i yield back. . the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: last time the congress balanced the budget with a democratic-controlled congress was 1969, more than 32 years ago. at this time, it's my pleasure to yield to the gentleman from michigan, mr. mccotter, a member of the financial services committee, two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. mccotter: i thank the gentleman from virginia, in 1969, democratic congress had a republican president to help
them do it. i rise in support of a balanced budget amendment. in this debate, we have heard that social security, medicare and medicaid will be doomed by a balanced budget amendment. but if we do nothing, those entitlement programs will continue to be doomed by today's fiscal implosion. we have heard the tax hike will somehow manage to balance the budget, but we have heard this talk before. and after all the tax hikes in the past, today we face a fiscal implosion. we have heard that there was a brief glowing error when a democratic president and republican congress managed to balance the budget. that is the exception that proves the necessity of a balanced budget amendment. because again today, we are physicianically imploding. we -- fiscally imploding.
we have heard about how the government borrows and this is accurate. when a family borrows money, it is personally liable for that debt. it must prioritize its finances and pay it back with its own money. today, we are fiscally imploding because big government is not personally liable for that debt. it does not prioritize and it can't even pay it back with other people's money. what is the solution? i believe big government is addicted to spending and turn it over to a higher power called the united states constitution. only in this way when congress spends your money will you be allowed in the room to sit over their shoulder and say no, because as we know, today's fiscal implosion is here, because under statutory limitations the congress has not been able to balance your
budget. go to the highest law of the land, force them to live within your means and ensure that the doom and gloom we hear about being able to spend less money to help america actually occurs. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i'm pleased to recognize the distinguished gentlelady from california, oakland, california, barbara lee, for a period of two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for two minutes. ms. lee: i thank the gentleman for yielding and continuing to fight the good fight on behalf of the american people. many of my republican colleagues have come to the floor to keep telling us that the federal government must balance the budget just like every american family. well, it sounds like it makes sense to me, but it's nonsense. how are those families and
businesses feel about congress passing a constitutional amendment making it illegal to borrow money to invest in their tuteturs? what if they can't get a mortgage to buy a house or a credit card to buy a car or get credit to buy clothes, what if they can't get a loan to grow their businesses? that's what this fundamental change to america's constitution would do to the entire country. can you imagine opening up the constitution to make it impossible for people to invest in their future? in addition, millions of families across america are taking in less income than they need to survive because of failed republican economic policies that drove our economy into the ditch. why would you now want to balance the budget on the backs of these people, seniors, the poor, our children, the most vulnerable? now that people need a helping
hand, republicans want to tie the hands of government and restrict our budget so that exactly when americans need more, you want to hurt them more. this is really a moral disgrace. let's stop wasting time on ridiculous efforts to amend our constitution when millions of americans need jobs now. let's stop wasting time keeping campaign promises to republican tea party supporters and pass real legislation that will create jobs like the american jobs act. let's stop wasting time when nearly 50 million americans, mind you, and the richest and most powerful country in the world -- may i have another 30 seconds? thank you for the 30 seconds. i wanted to remind us all that 50 million americans are living in poverty in the wealthyest and most powerful country in the
world. we don't need to alter our nation's founding document to do what is right but take a balanced approach in do this by creating jobs. let the bush tax cuts expire, end the wars and cut the wasteful pentagon spending and protect the safety net that will protects millions of americans. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: it's my distinct pleasure to yield four minutes to the gentleman from texas, chairman of the house republican conference, mr. hensarling. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized for four minutes. mr. hensarling: i thank the gentleman for yielding and thank him for his leadership on the balanced budget amendment. since the president was elected, our nation is seeing its first trillion dollar deficit, its second trillion dollar deficit and its third.
the president and the previous congress has been on a spending spree the likes of which this nation has never seen before. and yesterday, americans were greeted with the news that our national debt has now topped $15 trillion, 128,000 for every household. we are borrowing almost 40 cents on the dollar, much of it from the chinese and sending it to our children and grandchildren. in short, there is a debt crisis. the debt is not just unsustainable, it is immoral. and the american people know that it's because washington spends too much, not because they are undertaxed. the problem is on the spending side. now, taxes are temporarily down due to the economy, but they're going to come back. it is spending that is exploding from 20% of our economy to 40% over the course of the next
generation. if that's all on the taxing side, we would be the most highly taxed industrialized nation in the world. it should be on the spending side of the equation on which we are debating a spending limit amendment to the constitution. we're not. we had no takers. i know of no takers on the other side of the aisle. so we are debating what is known as the clake classic balanced budget. equal opportunities for spending restraint and tax increases. now, it's not my preferred policy, yet so many democrats, mr. speaker, will come to the floor and say we need a balanced approach. but the question is how many believe we need a balanced budget? we all agree that amending the constitution is something that should be taken with great
deliberation. it is a sacred responsibility. mr. speaker, we know that our founding fathers set up a process by which to amend the constitution and no less of a founding father than thomas jefferson said i wish it was possible to obtain a single amendment to our constitution. i would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the government. i need an additional article taken from the federal government, the power of borrowing. 49 of 50 states have some form of balanced budget requirement. every family in america has to balance their budget. every small business. should we expect anything less from a great nation? 16 years ago was the last opportunity we had in the united states congress to vote on a balanced budget. came within one vote, one vote in the united states senate. imagine where we would be today
had that one vote made the difference had we had this amendment. it's sad. i can tell you, republicans and democrats can't seem to agree on spending. we can't seem to agree on taxes. but as americans, can't we at least agree it's past time, past time to stop mortgaging our children's future and bankrupting the greatest nation in the history of the world? there is a real crisis and to paraphrase winston churchill, isn't it timely time to do the right thing? amend the constitution, save the country, balance the budget. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: i yield myself five seconds. i hope that those words will help us in the supercommittee that the gentleman from texas is
working on night and day. and i yield now -- i only have five seconds, sir. i now yield to the distinguished the gentleman from virginia, bobby scott, the former subcommittee chair of the crime committee and a member of the budget committee -- former member of the budget committee. and i yield him five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized for five minutes. mr. scott: mr. speaker, the supporters of this legislation have spoken at length about how nice it would be to balance the budget and how dangerous deficits are. the great speeches about the budget, but the one thing they have not talked about is how the provisions of this legislation will actually help balance the budget. now, we had a hearing earlier
this month where the former governor of pennsylvania talked about the pennsylvania balanced budget amendment and how their constitutional provision was such a good thing. but he had to acknowledge that other than the title, there is nothing in h.j. res. that can be found in the constitution. the gentleman from pennsylvania and arizona was able to balance its budget because only federally borrowed stimulus money provided $6 billion to arizona, $1,000 for every man, woman and child in that state, and that wasn't enough. arizona had to sell their state capitol and supreme court building. that's right. sold their capitol and supreme court building and leased it back in order to achieve cash
needed that year. we should be looking at the provision of the legislation, not just talking about how nice it is to balance the budget. one of the provisions is a 3/5 vote to increase the debt ceiling. last august, the united states lost its a.a.a. credit rating because it looked like we weren't going to achieve a simple majority. how does it make sense to make that spectacle an annual affair? most people would think it would be fiscally irresponsible to enact that. another provision is 3/5 provision is to pass it in a given year. that would cover everything we passed this year including the strongest deficit reduction plan. now strong deficit reduction is politically difficult, because it's a risk and we are talking about math. you have to raise taxes and/or
cut spending. now you can't -- we can't get a simple majority to do that so why would anybody think that this legislation requiring a 3/5 vote make it any easier. that same 3/5 vote would be sufficient to pass new tax cuts and additional spending, making the deficit worse. last december we passed $800 billion tax cut and got 3/5 for that. but instead of discussing the title of the resolution, we should be notice that if this legislation were in effect in 1993 we never would have passed that budget. and we have heard people on the other side of the aisle taking credit for the hard work. i came in in 1993 and we passed a tough budget. there were tough votes. 50 democrats lost their seats as a direct result of those votes. the deficit was $290 billion at that point.
1995 when the republicans came in, they passed their little budget and rather than sign those budgets, president clinton let the government get shut down rather than sign those budgets. if they want credit, they could get credit for shutting down the government. 1997, the deficit went from 290 to less than $25 billion and no tough votes. the budget was on its way to balancing itself if we hadn't done anything. what would have happened if president clinton hadn't ca pit you lated. in 2001 when the republicans came in, we saw what happened, they passed two tax cuts, two wars without paying for them and prescription drugs without paying for them. and when chairman greenspan said what would happen if we pay off the national debt and looked like we are on target by 2008 to
pay off the entire debt, those were the discussions, the first tax cut was the last time you heard any of that discussion, and as a result of that, two tax cuts, two unpaid force and unpaid prescription drug benefit, we ended up in huge deficit. 1993 budget never would have passed if we required a 3/5 vote. . there's another provision, the provision -- provision involving war. all the provisions in this budget can be set aside by a simple majority when a declared war is in effect. can i have another minute? mr. conyers: one more minute. mr. scott: when a declared war is in effect or when the united states is in a conflict that
causes us to be at risk of war, that should scare every two-bit dictator in the world because if we're having trouble passing it, we can just drop a bomb on them and then only require a simple majority. rather than talking about how nice it would be to balance a budget, how do these provisions make that easier? if we adopt this resolution, it will be harder, if not impossible to balance this budget. that's why the resolution ought to be ke feeted. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: i yield myself 30 seconds to complete the record. as i said, my remarks earlier, presidents of both parties and congresses of both parties have much to explain in terms of the lack of balanced budgets over the last 50 years. only six times in 50 years have they been balanced. but here's the record. of the 13 of those 50 years the
republicans controlled the congress they only balanced the budget four years. of the 37 years that democrats controlled the congress, they only balanced the budget twice. it's now my pleasure to yield to the gentlelady from tennessee, mrs. blackburn, two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for two minutes. mrs. blackburn: i would encourage my colleagues to consider the balanced budget amendment and support it. i do rise in support of this amendment because hard working taxpayers know that "out of practice" of control spending in washington is killing job creation and economic growth. in less than three year, president obama and his administration have added $4.3 trillion to our national debt, which is now over $15 trillion, astounding. that is $47,900 for every american. is it really fair for our children and grandchildren to
have to shoulder that kind of debt? for programs they don't want? having to pay for it with money they don't have in is that really fair? the obama economy is stifling the ability of small businesses an hardworking taxpayers to achieve their goals and dreams. it is time to rein in wasteful washington spending. it is time to stop the madness. we need a permanent solution to the fiscal problems that are plaguing this economy and the clear and commonsense solution is to pass this balanced budget amendment. it's not a new idea. every year in my state of tennessee, our state, cities, and counties across our state all plans their budget. 49 other states do, passing a constitutional mandate would require congress to balance the budget every year and legally obligate this body to spend only what it takes in. we can no longer kick the can
down the road. we can't wait to replace washington's blank check with the checks and balances necessary to provide true fiscal responsibility. passing the balanced budget amendment is an effective component of accountability and spending control. washington mandates too much, spends too much, takes too much, and takes our freedom. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: i'm pleased now to recognize the gentlelady, ms. kathy castor, for three minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for three minutes. ms. castor: i support a balanced budget and a balanced budget amendment. this version would place a dangerous straitjacket on our country's ability to address a disaster. i'm proud to represent the state of florida but after a year of devastating tornadoes,
floods, and fires, all across this country, you do not have to hail from the state of florida to understand the impact of a natural disaster and the importance of our ability to speed assistance to local communities. this amendment would erect roadblocks to our country's ability to address natural disasters and emergencies. please recall how many of our gomplet o.p. -- g.o.p. colleagues sought to stall emergency aid. i'll read a press report from back in august. americans who saw their homes flooded, streets ripped apart an businesses disrupted by last weekend's hurricanes are about to face another storm arbling new congressional battle. unless additional disaster aid is appropriated, communities trying to rebuild from disasters this year in the midwest an south will have to wait while funds are diverted to help victims of hurricane irene. the recent string of disasters,
including a tornado thatter to through joplin, missouri, and a flood that inundated minot, north dakota, is running into a buzz saw that forced the government into default in a bitter fight over the debt ceiling this summer. delays in emergency aid are unconscionable and it is terrible for fema to have to choose between which american cities and towns can be helped and which ones can't. the problem with this version of the balanced budget amendment is that it could cause impacted communities to live that nightmare again. it didn't happen after hurricane katrina or 9/11 or other disasters but after the antics of the republican congress this past fall, i'm concerned that this version of the balanced budget amendment would allow another irresponsible congress to block assistance to local communities. we should not set our country up to be at the mercy of tea party hardliners, not at a time
when our neighbors and communities need us most. i relayed my concerns to the house sponsor after he was kind enough to call my directly and i appreciate that opportunity. unfortunately, the republicans did not allow any amendments or revisions, so i intend to file my own version of balanced budget amendment, a version that seeks to avoid an irresponsible congress from withholding disaster assistance. because this version of the balanced budget amendment is flawed, i urge its defeat. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: mr. speaker, at this time it's my pleasure to yield two minutes to the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. altmire, who is a member of the transportation and infrastructure committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. altmire: i rise in strong support of the balanced budget amendment. 49 of the 50 states are required to balance their budgets and while i'm certain that state legislatures will agree it's always a difficult
process, somehow, they annually meet their obligations while achieving balance. the federal government should be able to do it too. but states aren't the only place congress can look to for for examples -- for examples. every family and every business in america has to balance expenses and income. they have every right to expect the federal government to do the same. but unfortunately, congress has let them down time and again. but mr. speaker, the time has come to fix the problem. constitutional amendments to require a balanced budget have been introduced in congress for the past 5 years. most recently in 1995, the house passed a balanced budget virtually identical to the one we're debating today and it passed this house with bipartisan support. 72 democrats and 228 republicans. and because that amendment failed by one vote in the
senate, our national debt has now surpassed $15 trillion. the situation has only gotten worse and the stakes today are much higher than 1995. this vote is an opportunity to prove to the american people that this congress can work together and that we are finally committed to balancing our budget and putting our country back on fiscally solid ground. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, we reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: it is my pleasure to yield two minutes to the gentleman from indiana, mr. bucshon. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. bucshon: i rise in support of the balanced budget amendment to the constitution. this is an opportunity for the federal government to keep our checkbook balanced as every american is expected to do the house passed a similar
amendment in 1995 when our debt wuss $4.86 trillion. 70 democrats voted for the amendment including 11 of my current colleagues. the president recently said in regard to balancing the budget, and i quote, we don't need a constitutional amendment to do that. we don't need a constitutional amendment to do our jobs. the constitution already tells us to do our jobs and make sure the government is living within its means and making responsible choices. mr. president, i respectfully disagree. washington, d.c., has not been able to make these choices and is not living within its means. i was elected by the people of indiana's eighth congressional district to help us make that happen. i'd also like to say that some of mr. hoyer's comments help us today toout line exactly why washington, d.c. needs a
balanced budget amendment, i thank him for pointing those reasons out. this is not a partisan issue, mr. speaker, it's an american issue. i support this amendment and i urge my colleagues today to vote yes on a balanced budget amendment. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. members are reminded to not traffic the well while other members are speaking. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, we reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: it is my pleasure to yield three minutes to the gentleman from texas, mr. conaway, who is chairman of the agriculture subcommittee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. con na way: mr. speaker, imagine -- mr. conaway: mr. speaker, imagine, it's said 15 years ago
we came within a chigger's whisker of passing a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. imagine what would have happened if we'd done that? the argument would be how do we use today's resources to meet today's needs. instead, we are using a future generation's resources to meet our needs. we need to compare -- we say wow, look how much better off this country is. they'll still be fussing and fighting but using their resources to fix their problems instead of the model we put in place, checkively, on both sides of the aisle, there's plenty of blame to go around. today i received -- before i get to that the decisions will be -- we have to make to balance the budget are no different with or without the
balanced budget amendment. they are hard, they are difficult. and i've got $15 trillion worth of evidence that we're not making those tough decisions without the balanced budget amendment. technically we could get it done, but we are not getting it done and we are not on a path to get that done. i received a letter from a state representative of texas signed by 669 other texans urging me to support this balanced budget amendment. i would urge my colleagues to think about the future of this country, how much better off will this country be with a balanced budget amendment. this is the only thing we're contemplating doing that can change the future that my seven grandchildren face. it is a bleak future they face today. we can change that for the spending efforts of the country with a balanced budget amendment that will force us to do the things everybody else does. i urge my colleagues to pass this and support this balanced budget amendment and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan is
recognized. mr. conyers: it is my privilege to yield to jesse jackson jr., a distinguished member from chicago, illinois, as much time as he may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. jackson: thank you, mr. chairman. i rise in strong opposition to h.j.res. 2, the balanced budget amendment. we do need to responsibly reduce our budget deficits and debt but the best way to do that is by investing, billing and growing our economy or through balanced economic growth, not a balanced budget amendment. . what is the most important question to be raised with respect to the b.b.a. we have serious gaps that need to be narrowed between the rich and the poor, social gaps between racial minorities and majority population, gender gaps, women earn 76 cents to the dollar of what men earn,
generational gaps, will social security be there for the next generation, infrastructure gaps, upgrades to roads, bridges, ports, levys, sewer systems, high-speed rails, airports and more. the most important question is this, how does the b.b.a. narrow these economic, social, gender, and infrastructure gaps? it won't, it exascerbates that. it will permanently the united states as a separate and unequal society. the b.b.a. will balance the federal budget on the backs of the poor, the working class and the middle class. the center on budget and policy priorities and citizens for tax justice says it will damage our economy by making recessions deeper and more frequent and jeopardize the full faith and
credit of the u.s. government, lead to reductions of investments needed in the future, favor wealth year americans making it difficult to raise revenues and cutting programs and weaken the principle of majority rule. before this congress affirms a balanced budget amendment, we need to consider our future, not just the future of america's debt, but america's future. do we want a future that is bright with promise, a future with innovation, a future with the best schools, brightest students and strongest and healthiest workers, do we want to continue to lead in the world? my answer yes. mr. speaker, i urge my colleagues to vote no on this irresponsible and shortsighted amendment, and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: i yield myself 30 seconds, what do the 99% want.
cnn asked them in july and the answer was 74% favored a balanced budget amendment. 74% of men, 75% of women, 76% of white voters, 72% of non-white voters, 72% of 18-34 year olds, 75% of 55 to 65-year-old. and older voters want a balanced budget amendment to the united states constitution. at this time, it is my pleasure to yield two minutes to the gentleman from texas, mr. culberson. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. culberson: i want to thank the congressman from virginia. bob goodlatte has been a tireless advocate, and we are here debating it because of his perseverance and thank the people of america electing a
balanced budget majority to the house and we must pass this amendment to the constitution tonight, the senate must take a vote on it and the people of america should hold every member of congress accountable for their vote, because this is a defining vote on a defining evening for the united states congress. how much much more prosperous if the senate had passed this amendment 16 years ago? how much stronger would america be today? the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff has said that america's greatest strategic threat is our national debt. what better evidence is there that the people of europe tonight are facing panic-selling of european debt, greece, italy, portugal are all on the brink. we can't let america continue down this path. we have an obligation to our children and grandchildren to ensure that the nation's books are balanced, just as 49 out of
50 states must do and every business and family in america must do. this is fundamental common sense. no amount of confusion or distraction on the part of the opponents can divert the country's attention from the simple, commonsense fact that an amendment to the constitution requiring a balanced budget requires america to live within its means, to spend no more than is brought in by revenue. thomas jefferson said and his words ring true today in light of the problems we face that to preserve our independence as americans we must not let our rulers load us down with perpetual debt. we must make our choice, america, between economy and liberty and pro fusion and servitude. i thank congressman goodlatte for his leadership on this issue. and i look forward 15 years from
today when it passes the states and congress and my daughter and her children will inherit an america that is more process produce and more secure because of representative goodlatte and the leadership of john boehner so we will live within our means. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. zat mr. goodlatte: i recognize the gentleman from pennsylvania. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. meehan: thank you for yielding. one trillion $1 bills and we are trying to make sense of $1 trillion. if they were stacked on top of each other, they would reach nearly 68,000 miles into the
sky, about one-third of the way of the earth to the moon. as of yesterday, our national debt was 15 times that $1 trillion. 15 years ago, the balanced budget amendment passed the house with bipartisan support only to lose by one vote in the senate. since that time, our nation's debt has grown $9.2 trillion more. every day, families make tough decisions in order to live within their means, but when it comes to our country's bank account, both parties in washington simply don't practice these responsible habits. it is wrong for us to accumulate this mounting debt that we know we're never going to repay.
instead, we expect our children and our grandchildren to do so. it's our obligation to pass on the blessings of liberty, not a crushing debt to our posterity. a certain way to ensure that congress and the president will not allow the u.s. to be driven further into debt and that is to pass an amendment to the constitution forcing our government to balance the budget each year, promising to make cuts in federal spending is one thing. but an amendment to the constitution demanding it is quite another. a balanced budget would legally force congress to spend only what it takes and it protects taxpayers and small businesses from the threat of higher taxes to cover washington's spending habits. this will be a better future for our children and our nation. thank you, mr. chairman, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired.
the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: i continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan continues to reserve. the gentleman from virginia. mr. goodlatte: at this time, i yield 1 1/2 minutes to the the gentleman from texas mr. farn hold. mr. farenthold: every month, millions of americans make tough financial decisions about how to pay their bills, balance the budget and make ends meet. they make tough choices and do without things they want so they can have things they need. the american people have to make these tough choices and we as their elected leaders need to do the same thing. america cannot continue to spend more than we take in. a balanced budget amendment to the constitution will ensure our grandchildren will not have to deal with the reckless mistakes that congress has made. a vote on this amendment will
show hardworking americans which members of congress get it and who are doing their jobs that they are elected to do. the current national debt is over $15 trillion and way too much. passing a balanced budget is a way to ensure we don't spend money on programs we don't need. the americans want a government that is balanced and responsible and like every family lives with is a key to this responsibility and accountability. it makes our economy stronger and healthier and preserves this great nation for generations to come. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, how much time remains on each side, please? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan has 86 1/4 minutes remaining.
and the gentleman from virginia has 91 minutes remaining. mr. conyers: i continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: at this time, it is my pleasure to yield two minutes to the gentleman from utah, mr. matheson. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. matheson: i thank mr. goodlatte for the time. you know, i'm part of the blue dog coalition, democrats, the blue dogs have been advocating a balanced budget amendment. since i have been in congress, i have been here in congress when democrats and republicans controlled congress and neither party has the best track record on the deficit issue and that's
why i think the balanced budget amendment makes sense because we need a structural, structural requirement that brings everyone to the table and says this is what you have to do, democrat or republican. shouldn't be a partisan issue but an issue about setting a path forward that creates stability and sends the right message to the american people and rest of the world that we know how to live within our means. now, i have to say i wish we had more support on my side of the aisle than we do. i don't think it's a democratic or republican issue but an issue we all ought to be looking at. balancing the books and budget, families do it, states do it, 49 states have a requirement for a balanced budget and this country needs that, too and i urge my colleagues to put us on a path of fiscal responsibility and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i yield myself one additional minute to ask the speaker who
just finished if i could gain his attention for a moment. and i thank the gentleman for coming back into the well. does the gentleman agree with me in examining this bill that this bill risks default by the united states by requiring a supermajority to raise the debt limit, which is not the case now. ? mr. matheson: same threshold, same supermajority for that as well. i think what we are doing is putting a requirement in if you want to default or raise the debt limit or want to deficit spend, it requires a supermajority. but if you want to pass a budget that is within balance and doesn't require a supermajority but a simple majority and that's the way the bill is structured.
mr. conyers: did the gentleman say yes or no? mr. matheson: i said no. mr. conyers: supermajority is not required to raise the debt limit under this bill? i yield myself an additional minute and i yield to my friend. mr. matheson: as i said, let's not do apples and oranges but do apples and apples. if this congress wants to pass it doesn't need a supermajority. but if it wants to deficit spend it can do it with the supermajority and same requirement if they want to raise the debt limit. there is no need to raise the debt limit. no need to raise the debt limit if we have a balanced budget and that would be a supermajority to pass a balanced budget each year. mr. conyers: i thank my colleague for answering the question, and i would like to turn to the gentleman who represents the majority, a
distinguished member of the judiciary committee, mr. goodlatte, and ask him, if he happened to be aware of whether -- i yield myself two additional minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. conyers: thank you. and ask him if he is aware of the fact that h.j.res. 2 would require a supermajority to raise the debt limit. and i'm pleased to yield to the gentleman. . mr. goodlatte: it requires the same supermajority of 60% to not raise the -- to raise the debt limit. raising the debt limit will occur less and less frequently but those two requirements are
in place to have an enforcement mechanism is congresses of the future will not do what congresses of the past have been doing. mr. conyers: would the gentleman -- did the gentleman answer me with a yes? mr. goodlatte: would you repeat that? mr. conyers: did the gentleman understand the question? mr. goodlatte: i understood and answered it. mr. conyers: was the answer yes or no? mr. goodlatte: it requires a supermajority to raise the debt ceiling and it requires a supermajority to not balance the budget. mr. conyers: then let me ask this, does it presently require a supermajority to raise the debt limit? mr. goodlatte: no, there is no such requirement today. mr. conyers: and there would be in this bill, would it not? mr. goodlatte: absolutely. mr. conyers: and the gentleman supports a supermajority to raise the debt limit?
mr. goodlatte: very much so. mr. conyers: i yield to the gentleman from illinois. >> is the gentleman aware that in such a scenario -- mr. jackson: because the limits placed on the fluidity of the debt ceiling. mr. conyers: i yield myself three minutes. mr. jackson: my question is on of this echairman as well. under such a scenario where 3/5 votes of the house would be permitted to raise the debt limit, a budget crisis in which a the fault becomes a threat is more likely. because of the limits on the fluidity of the debt ceiling that default becomes more likely to occur. is it the gentleman's opinion that a small minority in the congress could hold the entire nation hostage to such a vote? mr. goodlatte: i don't agree with that at all. in the greatest debt limit crisis which you might say we
ever had, this summer, 60% voted to raise the debt limit. i don't believe that future congresses would be any more irresponsible. i think future congresses are likely to be more responsible than prior congresses because we have not balanced the budget for -- but six times in the last 50 years. that $15 trillion is most likely -- mr. jackson: in the event that congress fails to act, obviously under this amendment the courts would be empowered to provide orders for when congress failed to provide a balanced bunnell. the decision would force the courts to be political in nature. is it the gentleman's opinion that the judicial branch and members of the court are in a better position to make judgments about congressional budgets and the nation's budget than members of congress? mr. goodlatte: it's my opinion
that the members of congress will uphold the oath to uphold the constitution of the united states and that scenario will be unlikely to occur and when it does, judges will, as they historically have, exercise judicial respect. mr. jackson: the courts could then mandate a government shutdown once revenue has been expended. i'd be happy to yield. >> going back to what you were discussing a moment ago, the answer to your question is, under this amendment, 40% of either house could hold the entire country hostage against the other 60%. of% could want a balanced budget and there may be a necessity for the increase in the debt ceiling and 40% could say no. 40% could hold the country hostage as the country was held hostage last year. with this, it will be much easier to hold the country hostage because the minority of
40% could do it. secondly, if the gentleman's answer is correct, that the courts would exercise judicial restraint and not make decisions on tax increases or revenue or spending cuts, then this, there's no point to this whole amendment because you're saying it's unenforceable. either the amendment is enforced by action of the court or it's not enforced. mr. conyers: i yield myself three minutes. i would yield time to the gentleman from illinois. mr. jackson: i thank the gentleman, the distinguished ranking member, but i want to raise a question with the -- with mr. nadler, the distinguished constitutionalist. the courts could mandate, therefore if congress failed to pass the balanced budget, it could mandate a government shutdown once revenue has been expended, is that correct? mr. nadler: the amendment is silent. all it says is this will happen.
this must happen. when this must happen, in our system of government, if it doesn't, or if someone thinks it's not going to, they go to court and ask for a court order to make sure it happens. the court either will -- there are two possibilities and only two. one, the court will say, here's how we make it in order. we raise this tax and lower that expenditure or the court will say, in which case you have unelected judges making those decisions, and this amendment gives them no guidance on how to make the decisions, or the court will say, as the gentleman from virginia just sugg jed the court would do, the court will exercise judicial restraint and say, this is a political question and we decline to make any order in which case this amendment is not worth the paper it's written on. either it's enforceable by the court, say increase this tax, decrease that expenditure, or it's not enforceable and it's a total joke. one way or the other.
i yield back to the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: i yield to the distinguished gentleman from virginia, bobby scott. mr. scott: thank you, i thank the gentleman for yielding. one thing we're forgetting is that during that spectacle last august, the united states lost its triple-a credit rating. you cannot make a serious case to increase the likelihood we would go through that spectacle again. the other is, we talk about a simple majority for a balanced budget or a super majority for an unbalanced budget but we forget that a serious deficit reduction is technically unbalanced and you need 3/5 to pass a deficit reduction plan. if you have a question of 3/5, to pass a serious deficit reduction, new tax cuts and new spending totally irresponsible and if you're -- if we know we need 3/5 to pass a budget, either deficit reduction or
irresponsible, as you get closer and closer, how are you going to get the extra votes in the tradition has been, you get those extra votes a little pork here, a little pork there and rather than buying enough pork to get to a simple majority, you have to give away enough to get to a 60%. so the question is whether the 3/5 vote will make it more likely you can have a serious deficit reduction or a totally irresponsible budget. in my view, i think the experience is it's hard enough to get a simple majority to pass meaningful deficit reduction, you'll never get to 3/5, you'll get your new tax cuts, new spending, i'll get another aircraft carrier out of it, i don't know what you want, but we need to get the 3/5. you get it by more spending and more tax cuts. mr. conyers: could i conclude on this side by asking my friend from virginia, mr. goodlatte if he shares the view offered by mr. scott?
mr. goodlatte: i do not share the view offered by my good friend and colleague, mr. scott. the fact of the matter is the downgrade we received in the bond rate sgs due to the fact we have a $15 trillion debt and the congress has not come to agreement on sufficient reductions in that debt to satisfy the bond rating agencies and a balanced budget amendment to the united states constitution is exactly what's needed to put that pressure on the congress to make real and meaningful reductions in our deficits. mr. conyers: could i get some time from the other side to continue this discussion? mr. goodlatte: i have a lot of members planning to come tomorrow to debate this issue and i'm going to have to reserve our time for that purpose. mr. cop yers: the time is allotted already for tomorrow. the time we use tonight will not be put on tomorrow. we have divided the time up so
you have a few minutes left if you care to share it, sir. >> parliamentary inquiry. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman will state his inquiry. mr. goodlatte: can time unused tonight be used tomorrow? the speaker pro tempore: time unused tonight can be used tomorrow. the gentleman from michigan reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: mr. speaker, at this time, it's my pleasure to yield two minutes to the gentleman from north dakota, mr. burke. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. burke: thank you and thank you, mr. chairman. one year ago, as house freshmen, we came out here and we were elected to change how washington works. when we arrived in washington, there was one thing we agreed and that was that our country was on an unsustainable path.
as i'm here tonight listening to some of this debate, i'm stunned that the way you get 260 votes is by pork. mr. berg: this is what's wrong with washington. this is why it has to change. we know the crisis we're in. we heard the $15 trillion in debt that matches our whole country's economy. 15 years ago, had we passed a balanced budget amendment, america would be the financial power house of the globe. we would not be comparing ourselves to greece an comparing ourselves to europe. i strongly believe that one fundamental thing we can do to change the way washington does business is to have a balanced budget amendment. we wouldn't need this amendment if we actually balanced the budget. we are at a critical stage of our nation's history. and tomorrow, we have the opportunity to make the future look better, by passing this balanced budget amendment. this is congress' opportunity to get it right.
we can pass the balanced budget amendment and we can change the course of our country's future. it's time. now is the time for the balanced budget amendment. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from michigan. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, how much time is remaining? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan has 76 1/4 minutes remaining. mr. conyers: i yield the balance of the time to myself. for tonight. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves.
mr. conyers: i yield a minute and a quarter, the time remaining, allotted to us for tonight. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields a minute and a quarter to himself. mr. conyers: thank you very much. i think that the instructive discussion that we've had here tonight illustrates the irreconcilable problem with the requirement that a supermajority is necessary under h.j.res. 2 to raise the debt limit. it's frequently difficult enough to raise the debt limit with a simple majority. and i'm sure that everyone in this chamber will realize that by raising the requirement by a
considerable figure is going to make it nearly impossible to raise the debt limit. now, we've just gone through a summer of problems with getting to raise the debt limit by a simple majority and now, tonight, we are told that we are going to make this a constitutional proposition in which we make it even more difficult. could i yield -- the last time to mr. goodlatte for this explanation, sir. just for the record. could you explain to me how raising the debt limit to a super majority is going to facilitate a more progressive,
cooperative congress? mr. goodlatte: the goal is to balance the budget and to pay down this enormous national debt of $15 trillion. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. does the gentleman from michigan seek to yield himself additional time? or does the gentleman from michigan reserve? mr. conyers: we have no more time. mr. goodlatte: how much time is remaining on this side of the aisle. mr. conyers: you can use your own time, of course. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia has 88 1/2 minutes remaining. mr. goodlatte: i yield myself 30 seconds to say, the only time you're going to need to raise the debt limit is an occasion where you've already voted by super majority to not balance the budget and therefore urn those circumstances, it seems entirely reasonable to me that you'd also have a super majority to raise the debt limit and that, i think, is the key to that provision. it's a discipline in this bill.
mr. jackson: would the gentleman yield for one question? i know the time expired. what qualifies a federal judge to make a decision about the federal budget process? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. goodlatte: i will just say to the gentleman that the doctrines that the court has imposed upon internal operations of the congress have historically called for judicial restraint. so it would be very rare in my opinion that you will find courts involved in this process. and i believe that there is very good material which we have put into the record, in the judiciary committee, that would reflect upon just that process. this is something that the congress -- this is something that the congress has to -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. goodlatte: and that's why we need it in the constitution. so congress cuzz not -- does not resolve it now. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the
the speaker pro tempore: the house lays before the chair a message. the clerk: to the congress of the united states, consistent with section 7422-c-of title 10 united states code, i am informing of you my decision to extend the period of production of the naval petroleum reserves for a period of three years from april 5, 2012, the expiration date of the current re-authorized period of production. attached is a copy of the report investigating continued production of the reserves consistent with section 7422-c-2-b of title 10 in light of the findings contained in the report, i certify that continued production from the naval petroleum reserves is in the national interest. signed, barack obama, the white house. the speaker pro tempore: referred to the committee on armed service and ordered printed.
the chair lays before the house the following personal requests. the clerk: leaves of absence requested for mrs. napolitano of california for today and for the balance of the week, and mr. bishop of georgia for today. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the requests are granted. under the speaker's announced policy of january 5, 2011, the gentlewoman from texas, ms. jackson lee, is recognized for 60 minutes as designee of the minority leader. ms. jackson lee: i thank the speaker for his courtesies and this opportunity allows the members of the progressive caucus to continue this
discussion and as well to continue to educate the american public. it is worth noting that part of the discussion that occurred on the floor of the house is that we have come to this point. if i might say through a peculiar process. some might call it hostage taking but certainly it is a process that has skewed, if you will, the regular order of this congress. this little book, the constitution of the united states, that can fit into a document of this size, even though it is found in law books and many major large-sized books found in the library of congress, hopefully convinces
the american people of the wisdom of the founding fathers. it is noteworthy that they do not include a balanced budget amendment in the first group of amendments called the bill of rights and even as they proceeded they took the challenge of speaking to any number of issues. the freeing of the slaves in the 13th, 14th and 15th amendment, giving the right to vote finally in the 15th amendment, suggesting that there should be no obstacles to voting. it went on to the 24th amendment to indicate there should be no poll tax, the 19th amendment, giving the right of women to vote. but never did they feel the necessity to talk about a balanced budget amendment. the reason i believe that they cast their lot on the responsible thinking of members of congress is because that is what we are supposed to do.
we are supposed to be responsible members of the united states congress with no intervening body, no layered approach, no handcuffing of our deliberation and that's what a balanced budget amendment is all about. you've just listened to a portion of our debate and we will go on into tomorrow. mind you, taking up five hours of time that could be dedicated to coming together around job creation. the underlying premises of this bill, mr. speaker, is that 2/3 of this body, 2/3 of the other body and 3/4 of the state must consent to a balanced budget amendment. thank goodness that our founding fathers made amending the constitution so difficult. and that is because they wanted us to be thoughtful. so when we think of the amendments that are in this
book, this little book that starts off with we the people, a part of the declaration of independence, and then the beginning parts of the constitution says that we have come together to form a more perfect union, they've made it that challenging so that we could be thoughtful in our moving amendments. maybe for those of us who are in certain types of church families, whether it be baptist or the underlying, overriding general protestant structure, we know that there are pastors, ministers, reverends, there are board of trustees or a board or there may be a deacon board. there's some sort of policy board and then there is a congregation. and the reason why i mention the faith community, because we can get very sensitive about
how our places of worship are run, how the business part of it is run. and you'd wonder how many congregations would welcome the overlay of some outside entity, all beat formed by members, that was over the pastor, that was over the board of trustees, that was over the congregation, that's what we have done and forced ourselves to do by the intervening supercommittee that was put together by the concept of the needing to raise the debt ceiling and then adding into it another hot pepper pot and that is, of course, having to be forced to pass a balanced budget amendment. i want to refer my colleagues again to a headline in a local paper indicating sheila jackson lee can't slow down the republican balanced budget amendment freight train. not necessarily because it was my name, but that's just what we have experienced, the freight train. i have no doubt that there will
be a strong vote tomorrow. i am hoping that the debate will generate enough thought, that would cause many of my colleagues to reflect on whether or not we could in the regular order do some of the suggestions that have been made , taxation of investment transactions, where many who are well vested and who have experienced the bounty of this land would be willing to contribute. and to understand how we should move forward. the expiration of the bush tax cuts, another revenue-generate that are would, i believe, increase -- general -- revenue-generator that i believe would increase the opportunities for reducing the debt. getting rid of the mighty, if you will, bungled opportunity to help seniors becoming a gigantic handout and budgetary
fiasco, medicare part d, ask every senior when you visit them at their senior centers, are they begging for the closing of the doughnut hole, but more importantly, are they trying to get relief from medicare part d? give them relief, close the doughnut hole and will you find a huge amount of money going into the treasury. going back to the affordable care act and implementing the public option and allowing the united states to negotiate on the cost of medication, prescription drugs, under medicare and just watch the debt go down, down, down. and so i want to recite, as i did on the floor of the house, the words of chairman ben bernanke, the chairman of the federal reserve, who indicated to the committee on financial services, we really don't want
to just cut, cut, cut. chairman said, you need to be a little bit cautious about sharp cuts in the very near term because of the potential impact on the recovery. that doesn't at all preclude, in fact, i believe it's entirely consistent with a longer term program that will bring our budget into a sustainable position. nowhere did he say, well, why don't you just do a balanced budget amendment with no thinking and not being able to deal with emergencies, beyond another vote by the congress, sometimes the majority, sometimes even longer. mr. speaker a balanced budget amendment -- mr. speaker, a balanced budget amendment was wrong when our founding fathers began to write the constitution, it was wrong as the founding fathers wrote amendment after amendment. a -- it was wrong to think about it in world war ii, to think about it in the 1929 financial collapse, to think about it in the conflicts of the 1950's, the vietnam war, of
wars thereafter such as the persian gulf, the iraq war and of course the afghan war and kosovo, bosnia, albania, libya and places where we've been called to act on behalf of the american people in defending our honor and democracy and protecting the vulnerable around the world. it is wrong, wrong, wrong. what the american people who voted for members of the united states congress are asking us to do is what the progressive caucus is doing. it is find wage, first of all, to submit -- finding a way, first of all, to submit a reasonable budget that has seen a responsible approach to addressing the needs of revenue raising and belt tightening. what it is also asking is, as the progressive caucus is doing, drafting a major omnibus jobs bill that will incorporate a wide range of initiatives, many not costly initiatives, that will bring about jobs in
america, not only for those languishing two and three years unemployed, but for our wonderful college graduates and others that are coming out of the institutions of higher learning. but we have even more challenges because although we all point to college graduates and going to institutions of higher learning, maybe i should wake up america and let you know that we have some of the lower numbers of college graduation numbers probably in the history of america. white males at 4%, african-americans somewhere under 20 -- 34%, african-americans somewhere under 20%. so the balanced budget amendment is not going to invest in the human resources of america. it's not going to answer the question in our competitive reach as we compete around the world, it's not going to respond to the numbers of ph.d.'s that india is now producing, probably in years to come moreso than people in the
united states or the number of masters and ph.d.'s in china. our reach in competition is way beyond our borders. but everyone knows that america's marketability is our genius on invention and manufacturing, our genius as it relates to prescription drugs, our genius in medical science and medicine, our genius in silicon valley, and the little silicon vallies that are springing up around america, our genius, for example, in the m.d. anderson medical center located in houston, texas, the fourth largest city in the nation, magnificent research occurring in that institution, seeking a viable 21st century, 22nd century cure for this devastating disease. but also branching out for creative thinking in the next generation of research.
that is the genius of america. we are not broke and we are certainly not broke in our genius. let us be remined as we debate the balanced budget amendment that our corporations are flush with cash, our banks are flush with cash and countries around the world are eager to have us hold their money in the framework of loans being made to us, but if they wish to loan to anyone, they're eager to loan to the united states. why? because they believe their cash is safe. so it is important that we are thoughtful in the idea of a balanced budget amendment and why now? why are we doing a balanced budget amendment in the course of the need to do as was said, long-term, systematic changes in how we do business in the united states of america. so just take a fact sheet on
the question of the balanced budget amendment. it came about because we went to the brink of raising the debt ceiling, something that had been done many times since president eisenhower, going forward to presidents thereafter, many times under bush one, the 41st president of the united states, many times under the 42nd president of the united states, william jefferson clinton, many times under the 43rd president of the united states, and lo and behold, an african-american president ascends to the presidency, voted on by the american people and the debt ceiling becomes a crisis in the making and frankly, the pundits and economists around the world indicated it was not the question of raising the debt ceiling, it was the debacle shown around the world that the members of congress were not
allowed to get their business in order. they were not allowed to debate this in a reasoned manner. they were strung and strangled by voices that are driven by outside party politics. in this instance, the tea party and those who adhere to pledges governed by mr. norquist. so it is important that a constitutional debate be separated from the entrenched political views that would disallow a thoughtful discussion. we could have raised the debt ceiling with a thoughtful discussion but it came with, not strings, but ladened with heavy, steel bricks tide to our arms and body as we walked slowly and dragged down. so we have a super committee. with great respect to those working, i have the greatest of respect for our colleagues and
wish them well. we have the requirement of a balanced budget amendment, a constitutional discussion, dragged down by the requirement that you're not going to get the debt ceiling raised, not going to be able to pay the bills for our seniors and soldiers on the battlefield. if you didn't hang with all this weight to carry forth an instruction that really is not done thoughtfully. so here's what we get with the balanced budget amendment. we risk default by the united states by requiring a super majority to raise the debt limit. it destroys 15 million jobs and doubles unemployment to 18%. if enacted in f.y. 2012, nonpartisan economists with macrocommick advisors n.l.c. estimates it will eliminate 15 million jobs, double the unemployment rate to 18% an cause the economy to shrink by
27%. remember what i said, dragged down by steel anvils tied to our legs and arms, our ankles, around our necks. this is what we will be doing tomorrow. this is what the vote will entail tomorrow. harm seniors by cutting medicare and social security and veterans even though social security is solvent until 2035, requiring a thoughtful decision of how we go forward and even though there are ways to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse from medicare without cutting providers, we want to go with a balanced budget amendment which could result in medicare being cut about $750 billion, social security, $1.2 trillion, and veterans benefits $85 million through 2021. how many of us joined our neighbors in celebrating veterans on last friday? i did. i joined a preparatory school
and we went to the veterans hospital and shook the hands of bedridden veterans and promised them, by giving them cards of cheer that we would not in any way cut their benefits. >> would the gentlelady suspend for a moment, please. the speaker pro tempore: would the gentlelady suspend for a moment please. the chair will receive a message. marv: a message from the senate. the secretary: mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: madam secretary. the secretary: i have been directed to inform the house that the senate concurred in the appropriations act. the speaker pro tempore: thank you. the gentlewoman from texas is recognized. ms. jackson: i am happy to yield to the gentleman from illinois in just a moment. these cuts will result in draconian cuts, the worst in
the ryan house g.o.p. budget. courts can intervene in federal budget decisions. it will generate enormous, in fact, there will be a line to the courthouse on constitutional challenges on cutting pell grants an cutting food stamps and cutting housing and cutting veterans' benefits, as i said. then of course, more than 270 organizations, representing people that are the most vulnerable have begged us to unshackle the steel anvil from our legs and arms and do the people's business. i'd be happy to yield to the gentleman from illinois. >> i wanted to ask the gentlelady a question. i think she touched upon a thoughtful comment in her remarks. mr. jackson: i can imagine, since every member of congress and every candidate for congress, is running for office
and they run to uphold the constitution of the united states, they swear to uphold the constitution and its various provisions within the context of the debate we have here on the floor of the congress, in my my -- in my district, i run on a campaign to try and provide better housing for my constituents. i run a campaign trying to provide health care for the health care-less, those who don't have health care. i run trying to say that the federal government has an obligation to address issues of unemployment and provide jobs and when the private sector won't invest its money in and on the south side of chicago, it should do more. i run my campaigns arguing that people should get involved in the political process because if they vote for me, i can provide them some hope. i'll come to the there are of the congress and have their grievances redressed by the government of the united states. under the balanced budget amendment, as proposed by the gentleman from virginia, it
seems to me that anyone running for congress in the future isn't going to be running making promises or commitments to do anything about the social ills or the gaps that exist in our society. they'll be running for office is, i guarantee you cannot have better housing, you cannot concern yourself about the federal government's role in health care or that the federal government should have no role in addressing issues of unemployment. let the private sector work its way to the south side of chicago, or to houston, texas. the gentlelady's argument suggests that the balanced budget amendment changes the framework and structure of america and instead of candidates running making the case for hope and change and encouraging the promise of america, it's just the opposite. will the gentlelady comment on that? ms. jackson: the gentleman is eloquent in his analysis and as an appropriator, the gentleman
knows full well the value of regular order that is, that the voices of not only the appropriators, meaning those on the appropriations committee, but other members are able to, in essence, craft the ultimate appropriations, maybe working with a budget, maybe not, based upon the current needs of the american people. the balanced budget amendment will stand, not as a guard at the door of the united states congress, so the doors are to my left. we come in and out. it will literally be a lock and chain on the door. it will say to those who are running for office, in essence, you are powerless. you will either be as other litigants in the courthouse, in the third branch of government, seeking refuge for your constituents, or you will make at being a member of congress and spend most of your time
fighting the balanced budget amendment in the courts. the gentleman is absolutely correct and i would add to this that even though they make a way for disasters and wars, even if it is a -- presumed to be under the jurisdiction of the president's executive powers, to even expend any dollars, one would have to come to this body, to receive a vote by the majority -- a majority vote by the house a majority vote by the other house. and that means that all branches of government will be under this lock. the president will not be able to act as a president. the congress will have disagreement as to whether or not it's a war we support or conflict we support or an emergency we support, and in essence, the gentleman's very fine point, and as i kind kated, we will be clogging the
federal courts on each iota of disagreement dealing with vast issues of protecting the homeland to the necessity of defending a democracy around the world. -- defending the principles of democracy around the world. some are probably applauding, saying, i don't want to help anyone anyhow. but some of that help falls back on the safety and security of the american people. what is going on in somalia, the frightening devastation of death we're not acknowledging, might be a cause for the support of the american government to help in the survival of those people. we will be strangle hold from doing that. the crisis in syria, which i wanted to just make mention of and to ask dr. assaad as the arab league as asked and as i continue to ask, as my syrian american neighbors have asked, to step down, which might warrant the united states
joining with people of good will to help the syrian people, we will find ourselveses in court for each step of our responsibilities. the oath we take, that will be in conflict with the balanced budget amendment as it is presently written by the gentleman from virginia. by the way, if it is not passed as it is, a long-winded process will generate, and that is, and i assume it is the same balanced budget amendment on the other body but this will be a long, protracted process, while we continue to languish and not do the people's bidding. i would rather do the people's bidding than i would want to again yield to a process that by its very nature is fractured an does not adhere to the constitution as relates to
having control of the purse strings, being able to raise armies, being able to provide for the general welfare of the american people, what are we talking about here? am i going to have to prosecute a case in the federal courts on the question of the general welfare of the american people when we will be thwarted here on the floor of the house because of the balanced budget amendment. i saw the gentleman, i'm not sure if he was attempting to make a point, i'm happy to yield to the gentleman. ms. jackson: i thank the gentlelady for yielding. i'm not sure that our colleagues appreciate that the gentlelady was a jurist before she came to the congress of the united states. we heard from the author of the amendment, the distinguished gentleman from virginia, that a 3/5 requirement would be required by this house, i believe to raise taxes. now, unlike the sthath, which has a staggered election process, every six years, usually the teen injure of a
senator. here in the house, members of congress run every two years. essentially they're elected a year, then they run a year, then they are elected a year, then they run a year. i'm finding it nearly impossible to imagine that in the event that revenues are at a shortfall in the congress of the united states that there will ever be a congress under the 3/5 requirement, as spoken of in this amendment, that would ever be willing to raise taxes on wealthy americans in order to help balance the nation's budget or to pay for programs. the politics of the way in which congress is elected, that we serve two years, that we essentially serve a year, run a year, serve a year, do politics a year, which is a fundamental tenet of our system and a constitutional requirement of the house, it seems to me that inherent in the idea that somehow this congress is going to have enough political
courage in an election year, which by the way is every year for members of congress, that they're going to be willing to raise taxes in order to help provide for necessary needs of the american people. as a jurist would the gentlelady please comment on this idea of the 3/5 requirement in order to move revenue through this building. ms. jackson lee: i'm looking at a statement that my office brought to my attention, that i was on the floor of the house september 22, 2004. let me say that wasn't on the floor of the house, i was in a markup on a proposed balanced budget amendment and i had in the markup, mr. jackson, an amendment called the pour children's amendment, in achieving a balanced budget, outlays should not be a a man that are disproportionately affects outlays for poor children. that was -- i called it the poor children's amendment dated september 22, 2004. we were dealing with an amendment at that time, seems that we've done it over and over again. but i only raise that to say, you are very right in your
analysis. what that means is that that those who would be on the side of saying that we have a crisis either with poor children, with nutrition, with the chipping program, children's health insurance program, which now is merged into our affordable care act, any other programs that deal specifically with the poor, let me just cite this 2008, $15.-- 15.45 million impoverished children in the nation. the kaiser family foundation estimates that there are currently 5.6 million texans living in poverty. we have the most uninsured. what it means that s that congresswoman jackson lee would battle allow in the course. i couldn't get the amount increased. and i would challenge the constitutionality of the budget -- of the balanced budget amendment, that would be part of my remedy because i couldn't raise up a 3/5 in this body, which is a supermajority of essence, supermajority to do
the constitutional right that we have for taxation. the house has the purse strings. and -- at the constitutional task, we've now changed that simple majority that has been written by our founding fathers who were building a nation and said -- and building a nation, we don't want to be reckless of spending but let us have a majority that will allow us to tax ourselves and build a nation. we're now arguing that it will be 3/5 and as we have made it your point, a constitutional amendment, as you know, that we've gone to courts on the ninth amendment, the right to privacy, we are presently in the throngs of of the amendments dealing with -- of the amendments dealing with due process and out of that 13th, 14th, 15th amendment came the voting rights of civil -- came the civil rights advocating act. we will be in court. but i will say this, we will be in court on defense matters as
well. and let me just indicate a point about defense. in order to spend more than has been appropriated, agencies tasked with defense and national security will need approval from congress. this increased reliance on emergency appropriations will have detrimental effects on the sound functioning of our defense and national security institutions. the more these institutions are forced to rely on emergency funding, the more unpredictable these budgets will become. this legislation would allow a military conflict or threat to national security to take the budget out of balance. however in order to authorize additional funds for military engagement or threats to national security that require action, congress will need to pass legislation citing a specific amount. so the gentleman who was on the floor is very accurate in what the balanced budget amendment will do, is kick us off budget if we have an emergency.
and might i just say, as my voice is coming to somewhat of a rasspy -- raspy end, i also say that in addition to being off budget, for this congress, those of us, i see the good speaker, a dear friend from texas, those of us who are familiar with state budgets, we know that there is capital budget and we don't have one here in the federal government. and so we spend, if people would know, moneys out of the federal government to ensure the infrastructure of america. just a few days ago texas had articles talking about our water level, our water is a lifeline for our ranchers. and something has to be done. i expect the legislature will dig deep to address the diminishing water sources and
the water shelf that we have to deal with in places where we have to keep our ranchers going. by the way, ranchers of texas, i love you, and i am proud to be from texas where ranching still goes on. you hold on. we have to deal with, as a federal proposition, to deal with water all over america. so all of this will be kicked off budget and i would hope maybe my texas colleagues would be in the courts with me when they would be denied the right to secure federal funding to help texas that is now suffering from enormous deprivation of water because of the drought that we had and some problems that come about through mother nature. may i pause for a moment and ask the speaker, how much time is remaining? the speaker pro tempore: 28 minutes remains. ms. jackson lee: let me just add a few more points to -- ok -- to my commentary on this. let me just say in my district,
texas, more than 190,000 people live below the poverty line and i want to take mr. jackson's comments, i will say that he took the words out of our collective moukts -- mouths in the progressive caucus, that this issue of poverty is really unspoken but is in need of raising the ante and it's the highest rate in 17 years. the thresholds proposed in h.j.res. 2 are completely unrealistic. even during ronald reagan's presidency, before the baby boomers had reached retirement age, swelling the population eligible for social security and medicare when health care costs were lower, federal spending averaged 22% of g.d.p. we don't have that low number that was offered in the judiciary committee, but it is unrealistic as this country grows. my friends, the country has gotten larger. we can't have the same percentages that we had under president eisenhower. only five years in the last 50 has the federal government
posted an annual budget surplus, all of the years the government has been in a deficit, we must contain it and restrain it. we must raise money. but we can do that, we've just got to move the various ghost of tax pledges and other third-party restraints away from the halls of congress and move the blocker of doing intelligent work and that would be a balanced budget amendment. and so i believe it is crucial, as this debate goes forward, that we understand the constitution and the american people understand that you pass a balanced budget amendment and you give up the vote that you cherish every two years. when you vote for a member of congress who are allowed to vote for or against who will stand on the floor of the house and advocate under the constitution of the united states the authority of this house of representatives to institute taxes through the
discourse of debate and the appropriate use of those taxes, to raise up the general welfare of the american government and people. with that in mind, i would beseech of you, as i close, to be able to truly understand the preamble to the constitution of the united states. allow me to read this to the record. we the people of the united states, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, to obtain and establish the constitution of the united states of america. i beg of you, my colleagues who will vote tomorrow, have this constitution in your hand.
posterity can come through the reasonable work, posterity can come through the thanking of the supercommittee for its work and moving beyond the supercommittee into 2012 begins to analyze the needs of the american people and vote for revenue and vote for belt tightening. don't take the constitution and sled it tomorrow. voting for a balanced budget -- shred it tomorrow. voting for a balanced budget amendment that no founding father saw fit to implement and throwing america's children, veterans, returning soldiers, seniors into the courthouses, the federal courthouses of america and depending upon the federal court system for justice. we can do justice tomorrow. we can join with the congressional progressive caucus long range, but we can do justice tomorrow and reject the balanced budget amendment on behalf of the constitutional rights of the people and on behalf of the people of the united states of america. i'm happy to yield control of the remaining time to the
gentleman from illinois. >> i thank the gentlelady. mr. chairman, may i inquire of the speaker how much time remains in the first democratic hour? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman will have 25 minutes. will the gentleman suspend? mr. jackson: i'll be happy to suspend, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house an enrolled bill. the clerk: h.r. 2112, an act making consolidated appropriations for the departments of agriculture, commerce, justice, transportation and housing and urban development and related programs for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2012, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: under the speaker's announced policy of january 5, 2011, the gentleman from illinois, mr. jackson, is recognized for the remainder of the hour ad as a designee of the minority leader. mr. jackson: thank you, mr. speaker. over this course of the session of congress, i've give an number of special order speeches in order to get across
to this body the basic needs of the american people and how the constitution is the best means of meeting those needs. in april i came to the floor and denounced a balanced budget amendment that has the end of progress in our society. it would appear that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle didn't pay close attention. perhaps as they often do, they blatantly ignored what i believe was the logic and the reason behind my arguments. either way, mr. speaker here we are, just a few months from my original statement against the b.b.a. and the house leadership has brought a balanced budget amendment to the floor. this week will cass -- we'll cast our votes on what ezra kline referred to in "the washington post" as an, i quote, the worst idea in washington, unquote. in "the new york times" editorial published on july 4, the dangers of the balanced budget amendment are laid out in plain english. no frills, none of the rhetoric that our constituents fall prey to, as simple as the b.b.a. sounds, requiring the federal government to balance its books every year would be like, and i
quote, telling families they cannot take out a mortgage or a car loan or do any other kind of borrowing no matter how sensible the purchase or how credit worthy they may be. worse than just balancing our budget, the amendments that we'll see in the coming weeks will force the supermajority to approve any bofferow -- bore o'ing to finance spending and cap all spending at 120% of g.d.p., additionally 2/3 majority would be required to raise taxes, making that process effectively impossible. sometimes a meaningful investment leads to greater returns in the long run. the average american can't afford to purchase a car. a house or an education outright. they need a loan or some arrangement in which they owe money. they might be expected to pay installments at a later date, but the product that have loan could get them to a job interview. in a house or in a university. a car could get them home after a long night at the office, a car lets them purchase groceries and in turn contribute to the success of
the car industry. a house provides safety and security for one's family. education adds to the quality of a person's life and the betterment of society. a loan may not always be the most desirable situation, but no one would deny its necessity. the chief argument used to sway for-loan americans to the misguided belief that a b.b.a. would benefit our nation is this, each and every home has to balance its checkbook every month. so why shouldn't our federal government do the same? first of all, let me be clear. you cannot compare the budget of the government of the united states to the budget of a household. it's simply not realistic. aside from that critical flaw, the truth is that while each and every american home must balance its bank account, this doesn't include the mortgage, the car note or the car loans that haven't been paid back yet. a true balanced budget is