Hoeven: Control Spending, Promote Pro-Business Environment to Address Debt and Deficit Before Raising Debt Ceiling

WASHINGTON – As the deadline for raising the country’s debt ceiling approaches Senator John Hoeven today spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate to address the need to reduce the nation’s debt and deficit. 

“The United States is the strongest country in the world – in the history of the world – but not for long if we don’t solve our debt and deficit crisis,” Hoeven said. “It is vital we solve it for our generation – it is vital for future generations as well.”

 Hoeven said the wealth – the economic activity – of the country is created by the private sector, by hard-working men and women, not by the government. 

“Government creates the forum, the environment, that fosters or allows economic activity, but the key is that government must create an environment that supports, encourages and promotes economic activity,” Hoeven said. “That encourages and promotes private investment, entrepreneurship, business expansion and development, job creation and innovation.” 

“That’s the strength of America. That’s our success. That’s how our country became the greatest economic powerhouse and why our people have the highest standard of living,” Hoeven said. “But the current administration believes that more government is the answer – more spending, more regulation, more taxes. But that’s not the answer. That’s the problem, and it’s making things worse.” 


The Senator said we need to get our economy going, and we need to get on top of our deficit and debt. “The reality is, we can do it, and we should begin with a comprehensive plan,” he said. 

Hoeven said the plan should include the Balanced Budget Amendment he is cosponsoring in the U.S. Senate, reduced spending, living within our means and reforming entitlement programs to save them from bankruptcy and preserve them for seniors and future generations. He said 49 of the 50 states have either a constitutional or statutory requirement to balance their budget. 

“States balance their budgets. Cities balance their budgets. Hard working families balance their budgets. The federal government should too,” he said. 

Passage of a balanced budget amendment requires a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress and ratification by three-quarters of the states. “If you think about it, a Balanced Budget Amendment gets everyone involved in the solution,” he said. 

With revenues of $2.2 trillion and expenditures at $3.7 trillion, the nation is running a $1.5 trillion deficit and borrowing 40 cents on every dollar it spends, and our debt is closing in on $14 trillion.  We’re accruing $4 billion in new debt every day, Hoeven said. “That’s simply unsustainable, and that’s why any increase in the debt ceiling must include a comprehensive plan to reduce deficit spending.” 


The nation needs to control spending, Hoeven said, but we also need a pro-business environment to grow our economy and create jobs. Government needs to create an environment that not only encourages private investment, but truly empowers private investment across our nation. 

“We need to create the kind of legal, tax, and regulatory certainty investors need to create jobs, and there’s no time to waste,” Hoeven said. “For example, we need to address the huge regulatory burden created by our federal government.” 

Earlier this year, President Obama issued an executive order that proposes to review regulations “that may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome, and to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal them.” 

“Yet over the past two years, the Administration has issued 502 proposed or enacted regulations, and is on pace this year to exceed $100 billion in total regulatory cost burdens to industry,” Hoeven said. “And they make a difference.” 

          The Senator presented a chart that showed the cost of major new regulations in billions of dollars, with 2010 reflecting more than $26 billion in regulatory costs to industry, the highest level in 30 years.  “As you can see, when the cost of regulation was low, the economy was strong, and when the cost was high, as it is now, the economy is weak – and more importantly – job growth is weak. 

Hoeven, Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas, and a group of senators have taken the President up on his pledge to review the rules. They introduced the Regulatory Responsibility for Our Economy Act, a measure that would give teeth to the directive. Under the act, regulators would have to show that the benefits of a new rule outweigh its costs, impose the least burden on society, and maximize economic benefits.” 


Hoeven said the energy industry is especially burdened by regulations, and he used a chart to demonstrate how the Environmental Protection Agency is impeding economic growth and job creation. 

“The EPA is sidelining investment and dampening job creation in the energy sector,” Hoeven said. “It shows a long, complex obstacle course of expensive standards and procedures that the EPA is imposing on the energy industry, virtually for years to come.” 

“At a time of high fuel prices, unrest in the Middle East, and sluggish economic growth, we are not only failing to provide Americans with affordable energy for their homes and vehicles – we are actually discouraging the very investments that will make it happen.” 

To remedy that, Hoeven cited new legislation he is cosponsoring that will streamline regulations and encourage investment:

  • The EPA Fair Play Act – Prohibits rescinding properly approved 404 permits.
  • The Defending America’s Affordable Energy and Jobs Act – Ensures that Congress makes the call on regulating greenhouse gases.
  • The Gas Accessibility and Stabilization Act – Simplifies the complex gasoline distribution system to make more fuel available when it’s needed. 

“With 14 million Americans out of work, we can no longer delay,” Hoeven said. 


Hoeven said another way to strengthen our economy and get jobs creation going is by promoting more international trade. Smart trade agreements can restore America’s competitive edge, create more income for American citizens, more opportunities for American entrepreneurs, and more foreign dollars to help balance our trade deficit – and our budget. 

“The place to start is by ratifying pending trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama that have been languishing for three years,” he said. “Together, these agreements are expected to generate more than $13 billion a year in economic activity and create up to 250,000 American jobs. However, if we fail to act, we stand to lose 380,000 jobs to the European Union and Canada, who have already completed their own trade agreements with those countries.” 


“The deadline on the debt limit is fast approaching – and the time to act is now,” Hoeven said. “The truth is this: we cannot continue to spend more, tax more, and regulate more. It’s time to control our spending, and create an environment that unleashes the entrepreneurial power of the American people. We can do it – we’ve done it before. We just need the will to act – for ourselves and future generations.”