Proposal Comes on Heels of Record Deficit Estimate by CBO

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. John Hoeven today announced he is cosponsoring a Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution. Hoeven and 18 other Senators are sponsoring the proposal, which comes on the heels of the Congressional Budget Office’s new estimate that the nation’s federal deficit will balloon to $1.5 trillion this year, and to a record $2.58 trillion for 2011 and 2012 combined. The national debt is now $14 trillion, about two-thirds the size of the national economy.

“Today’s estimate from the CBO drives home in no uncertain terms just how serious our challenge is,” Hoeven said. “Job number one needs to be job creation, but at the same time, getting control of our nation’s spending is a crucial step to getting our country back on a sound financial footing. It will take a strong and focused measure, like the balanced budget amendment we propose today, to reduce our debt and deficit and position us for true economic recovery.”

The measure would require each year’s fiscal budget to be balanced beginning four years after passage unless two-thirds of the House and Senate approve deficit spending. Meanwhile, it doesn’t allow federal spending to exceed 20 percent of the previous year’s Gross Domestic Product or taxes to be raised unless two-thirds of the House and Senate consent. It also requires the President to submit a balanced budget to Congress. The amendment waives the requirement in time of war or military conflict.

“Every family working to stay on budget understands the logic of this amendment – you can’t spend and borrow more than you take in,” Hoeven said. “This amendment represents a sensible approach to applying that very same principle to our nation, and its time has come.”

A range of Republican Senators have signed onto the bill, reflecting broad consensus on the proposal. They will now actively work to seek bipartisan Democrat support for the measure. In addition to Hoeven, sponsors include Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), John Ensign (R-Nevada), Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), John McCain (R-Arizona), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska), Mark Kirk (R-Illinois), Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), and Richard Lugar (R-Indiana).