Holding Congress Accountable

Families across Northeast Arkansas are faced with the challenge of living within their financial means every month. When a mom’s grocery bill in Blytheville goes up, she might not spend as much money on a new pair of shoes. When a dad in Cabot decides his children need braces, he knows that a new mower won’t come until next summer. The kind of common sense used every day from Mountain Home to Marianna is exactly what Washington needs to show now. Families across America make difficult decisions to balance their budgets, Congress should do the same.

Lately, the talk in Washington has centered on “fiscal responsibility” and “tightening our belts.” While I admire efforts aimed at reducing our nation’s massive deficit, we must make certain that lawmakers cannot continue to spend money that they simply do not have. Congress should be forced to balance the national budget, just as families in Arkansas and around the country are forced to balance their personal budgets. A Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment would force Congress to work together for the betterment of the country.

Public support for a balanced budget is wide spread. Every national poll conducted on the issue shows that a majority of Americans are in favor of forcing Congress, Democrats and Republicans, to work together every year to present a balanced budget.

In 1995, the House passed a Balanced Budget Amendment that died in the Senate. As recently as this summer, 10 Democratic Senators joined with Republicans to supporting an amendment to the Constitution and over 120 House members have filed bills of their own to requiring a balanced budget.

Passing a Balanced Budget Amendment would be a clear sign that Congress is focused on rebuilding confidence in the Federal Government and putting Americans back to work. Balancing the federal budget would be akin to laying out a welcome mat to job-creating entrepreneurs who would no longer be forced to worry about the uncertainty that our national debt now poses. Congress should lead by example and prove to the country that we are serious about putting an end to our colossal debt.
With each passing day I grow more frustrated with the lack of real solutions coming out of Washington. Both parties created the debt crisis, both parties should be focused on solutions to end the crisis. We cannot afford to waste time on non-binding deficit reduction bills. Any bill that claims to reduce the deficit must include a Balanced Budget Amendment or it will be non-binding to future Congresses and a hollow effort today. We can, and must do better.
The next month will be a critical period for our nation. If Congress does not act, our economy will not heal. Now is the time for members of both parties to stop playing politics with our country’s future. Republicans and Democrats need to work together to produce solutions that will put America on the road to financial well-being. It’s time for Washington to turn words into reality and an unstable economy into a job-creating engine. It’s time that both houses of Congress pass a Balanced Budget Amendment.

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