- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 17, 2011


Earlier this year, Congress laid forth an historic framework to address our nation’s looming debt crisis. The federal government is over $15 trillion in debt. None of us can ignore the threat that we soon could face here at home the crisis we have seen unfolding abroad. If left unaddressed, our crushing national debt could require catastrophic cuts to national security and Social Security or could force our government into default.

Unfortunately, we have stood at these gates before, and the legislative solutions Congress created to address and defeat these threats have failed. Congress has the power not only to create law, but to change it and even repeal it. We now have an opportunity to ensure that the legacy we pass on to our children and grandchildren is not another failed legislative approach but a pure resolution that will pass down through the generations. Let us take a lesson from the past:

December 1985: The Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act (GRH) is passed to address worrisome budget deficits. It sets spending and deficit targets, with sequestration for failure. The national debt is $1.95 trillion, or about $8,200 per American.

November 1990: The Budget Enforcement Act of 1990 is passed, replacing GRH with PAYGO, which requires direct spending increases or revenue decreases to be offset. The national debt is $3.3 trillion, or about $13,300 per American.

August 1997: The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 passes, extending PAYGO and promising significant spending cuts to balance the budget by 2002. The national debt is $5.4 trillion, or about $20,200 per American.

September 2002: PAYGO expires; the budget is not balanced. The national debt is $6.23 trillion, or about $21,800 per American.

January 2007: PAYGO is brought back as a House rule. The national debt is $8.71 trillion, or about $28,900 per American.

February 2010: The Pay-as-You-Go Act makes PAYGO law. The national debt is $12.44 trillion, or about $40,400 per American.

Today, the national debt is over $15 trillion. That’s about $48,500 per American.

    Each of these legislative efforts failed to stop the increasingly massive growth in our national debt.

    Now is the time to break this cycle and provide our children, and their children, a real solution that will endure. Now is the time to get our fiscal house in order so Americans can create jobs and economic growth.

    Now is the time to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.

    Speaker John A. Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Reps. Eric A. “Rick” Crawford of Arkansas, Jeb Hensarling of Texas, Kevin McCarthy of California, Kristi L. Noem of South Dakota, Christopher P. Gibson of New York, Billy Long of Missouri, Diane Black of Tennessee, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Andy Harris of Maryland, Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, H. Morgan Griffith of Virginia, Larry Bucshon of Indiana, Tom Reed of New York, Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, Tim Griffin of Arkansas, Robert T. Schilling of Illinois, Marlin A. Stutzman of Indiana, Kevin Yoder of Kansas, Raul R. Labrador of Idaho, Rick Berg of North Dakota, Michael G. Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Jamie Herrera Beutler of Washington and Vicki Hartzler of Missouri are all Republicans.

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