On January 5, 2011, Representative Bob Goodlatte introduced H.J. Res. 2. This bill would propose a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. On November 18, 2011, the House voted on the bill and it failed by a vote of 261 – 165. I voted against final passage.
While I agree that we must begin to address the issue of our crushing debt and that balancing the budget is an important step in the right direction, I was concerned that this specific version of a Balanced Budget Amendment would lead to much bigger government fueled by more taxes. Ultimately, spending is the problem, yet this version of the Balanced Budget Amendment would make it more likely that taxes would be raised, government would grow, and economic freedom would be diminished.
My specific concern was that under this bill, a future Congress could raise spending levels without any limits and then raise taxes without any limits to meet the increased spending levels. The result would still be a balanced budget, but without any caps on spending or taxes. In the end, this proposal would allow Congress to continue to chase ever higher spending levels with ever higher tax rates. Consequently, for these reasons, I could not support this Amendment. I do; however, support a balanced budget amendment that would keep spending and tax rates in line with their historical averages. If this version of the amendment is brought to the House floor, it would have my support.