Hoeven Joins Former Governors in Pressing For Passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today joined Senators Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) in pressing for a Balanced Budget Amendment. All former governors, the Senators cite the requirement for 49 out of 50 states to balance their state budgets in urging their Senate colleagues to vote on and pass the constitutional amendment. 

An excerpt from Hoeven’s remarks follows: 

The unemployment rate in our state is 3.3%.  I attribute that to building a pro-growth, pro-jobs environment that stimulates private investment and stimulates job creation.  

As you mentioned so very accurately, jobs are created by the private sector, not by government. You have got to create an environment that stimulates, encourages and helps create a forum for that private investment. That’s how we create jobs and get this economy growing.  

On the one side, we have got to have a growing economy, which we don’t have at the national level right now. On the other side, we have got to live within our means. We have got to control our spending. And the federal government has the responsibility to control its spending just like the states do, just like businesses do, and just like families do. We have got to not only balance our budget; we have got to live within our means on an ongoing basis.  

Forty-nine of the 50 states have a constitutional or a statutory requirement that they balance their budget every year. Every single governor here with us that had to balance their budget every single year. It was recently reported that 46 states are already on track to make sure that their budget is on balance by the end of the fiscal year. The federal government needs to do the same thing.  

Look at our situation right now. We take in $2.2 trillion in revenues, but we spend $3.7 trillion. That’s a $1.5-plus trillion deficit every year and that’s rolling up to a debt that is now closing in on $14.5 trillion. We’ve got to address this. This is not something we can hand off to future generations.  

If you think about it, the Balanced Budget Amendment gets everyone involved, both now and for the future, because it has to be passed by both houses of Congress with a two-thirds majority. That has to be done on a bipartisan basis. Then it goes out to the states, and three-fourths of the states have to ratify it for it to become part of the Constitution. That gets everybody involved in doing exactly what we need to do—get on top of this deficit and this debt—both now and for future generations.