Members of Congress oppose a balanced budget amendment simply because they do not want to give up power that rightly belongs to the American people themselves, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, tells Newsmax.TV.
Lee, who introduced the "cut, cap, and balance" act in the Senate and is the author of “The Freedom Agenda: Why a Balanced Budget Amendment is Necessary to Restore Constitutional Government,”
said some members of Congress are reluctant to support his amendment even though polls show wide public support for a balanced budget amendment.
Why? “Because a balanced budget amendment would make politicians less powerful,” he said. “It would make Congress as an institution less powerful. Anytime an institution has access to an unlimited pool of money, especially if it is a lawmaking institution like Congress, it will be made more power as a result of that.
“We need the balanced budget amendment to save the American people from this power," Lee added. "Every time we expand the power of the federal government we run the risk of interfering with the individual liberty of Americans.”
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Lee said he was “elated” by the passage of the cut, cap and balance amendment in the House by a vote of 234-190 and was working on Senate Democrats to support the measure even as he acknowledged none had yet converted.
“We think that before we raise the debt limit we need to address the underlying problem,” he said. “We need permanent structural and binding spending reform before we extend the credit of the United States government once again.”
As to President Barack Obama’s assertion that a balanced budget amendment is not needed, Lee said, “History tells us exactly the opposite.”
“When the president says Congress just needs to do its job rather than amend the Constitution I can’t help but think about the fact that that hasn’t worked,” he said. “That’s how we got to the point where we are now, where we’re almost $15 trillion in debt. We need Congress to bind itself; we need it to be bound constitutionally. Not just in this Congress but in subsequent congresses and the only way to do that is to amend our laws of laws, the only law that can’t just be repealed by a future Congress and that is through an amendment to the Constitution.”
On other issues, Lee said:
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- Congress must address changes to entitlement programs such as Medicare no matter how difficult it may be because Medicare is headed for insolvency.
- He would “avoid like the plague” Sen. Mitch McConnell’s plan to give the president the power to raise the debt ceiling. He said the proposal is “constitutional but the fact that it’s constitutional doesn’t mean its good policy and it’s not good policy.”
- People are “understandably concerned” about the debate over the deficit and debt ceiling be they “understand this is something that effects everything from job creation to what they pay in interest rates on home mortgage and their auto loan, their ability to finance every aspect of their lives, their ability to finance their own businesses. They are concerned about this and we owe it the American people to handle this matter responsibly in a manner that won’t continue the barbaric practice of burying our children and our grandchildren, some who are not yet born, in a mountain of debt by spending money that we don’t have.”
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