“If they can’t get a bigger package done by the time the sequester is scheduled to go into effect, then I believe they should at least pass a smaller package,” Obama said. “There is no reason that the jobs of thousands of Americans who work in national security or education or clean energy — not to mention the growth of the entire economy — should be put in jeopardy.”
I'm Paul McKinley and I'm running against the machine... I'm not running against a candidate, I'm running against the machine that's been in power in this district for 60 years. And if you think it's alright that all these boarded up houses in our community is all right, you vote for them. If you think that it's all right that our young men and women that have no jobs and standing on the corner, you vote for them, don't for vote for me...
440 young kids were shot in the city of Chicago last year, 3000 people in the city of Chicago were shot. That means the machine is working, it's no accident that's what's happening in our community. The machine is working and it's working out fine. You don't have anything and they do, your community is going to hell in a hand basket, and their community, there's no poverty problem over there, they're going to work, they've got jobs, there's nobody getting shot up in their schools... If you want to keep the same system, you vote for them, don't vote for me.
A few months ago, I wrote an op-ed where I suggested that we are at risk to be hit with a fiscal avalanche. To avert this danger, it is time to make the decisions to reform government spending. We can make progress, or we can make excuses. Washington has run out of excuses. It's time for the people to make progress. I have written a follow-up op-ed that was published by KSL that identifies several examples where both parties in Washington have refused to make the difficult choices to cut spending, and it also suggests what we need to do to get back on course.
The last time Congress was close to passing legislation that required the federal government to balance its budget the national debt stood at $5.3 trillion. Since then, the national debt has nearly tripled to $16.4 trillion.
Both parties in Washington share in the blame. Republicans and Democrats have controlled the presidency and each house of Congress during the massive expansion of our national debt. And although each side talks about fiscal responsibility, spending reductions, and eliminating our deficit, very few in Washington are willing to do anything about it.
Each week provides a new example of Washington's inability to make even the smallest bit of progress. Last week, I attempted to cut just one-half of one percent ($6.3 billion) in total federal spending for the year in order to pay for funding to help disaster relief victims. The vote failed as 62 senators from both parties opposed cutting the tiniest fraction of spending.
Over the last two years, the Senate has voted repeatedly to waive spending limits it imposed on itself. The recent "fiscal cliff" deal, again supported by both parties, postponed mandatory spending cuts while raising taxes on every hardworking American.
In 2011, 60 senators opposed a measure that cut just $10 billion from a spending bill that cost hundreds of billions of dollars. Last year, 70 senators refused to reduce slightly the price tag of a government program that actually pays people not to use their land.
Further, three senators, including myself, introduced budgets last year that balanced the books within the next decade. Bipartisan majorities rejected them all.
As we have seen with the failure of self-imposed, statutory spending limits, we cannot rely on laws that can be waived with a simple majority. That's why we need to enact a permanent structural spending restraint that will bind future Congresses.
I have submitted legislation (S.J.Res. 1) to amend the Constitution to require the federal government to spend no more than it takes in each year. It limits total federal spending to a level just above the historical average of total revenue.
The amendment requires the support of two-thirds of both the Senate and the House to run a deficit in any fiscal year. This amendment would also require the same threshold for raising the debt limit.
My amendment would not require a single cut in spending today, but it would force future Congresses to plan a path to balance. It would also foster a much-needed dialogue about our national priorities and what kind of government Americans want. The process of ratifying the amendment in three-quarters of the states would raise the voice of every citizen, as well as provide a reasonable glide path for Congress to make the necessary spending reforms. For good measure, Congress would have an additional year post-ratification to ensure the budget is balanced.
Only in Washington is proper fiscal management a foreign concept. Individuals, families, and businesses all face serious consequences if they run up too much debt. Forty-nine states, including Utah, have some formal requirement to balance their budgets, and cash-strapped local governments constantly make tough choices as they set priorities. It is time that we require Washington to do the same.
Utah has been a leader in calling for the federal government to get its fiscal house in order. In 2011, the state legislature passed a resolution in favor of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
Our fiscal mess is a bipartisan problem caused by a dysfunctional system that afflicts Democrats, Republicans, liberals, and conservatives. To fix it we need a neutral solution that forces all of Washington to comply regardless of who is in power.
We can make progress or we can make excuses. Washington has run out of excuses. It's time for the people to make progress.