South Carolina GOP Sen. Jim DeMint says Congress needs to pass a balanced budget amendment or Democrats will “continue to sit on the sidelines,” because they don’t want to cut government spending. DeMint also told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Monday that without such an amendment, America will go bankrupt.
“The Democrats are not even engaged in the real discussion here — they voted against a resolution a few weeks ago that would have called on Congress to balance the budget. We need to pass a constitutional amendment that would force Congress to live under a balanced budget,” DeMint said. “If we don’t do it, the Democrats will continue to sit on the sidelines and just complain and criticize every time we try to bring up these things that need to be cut.
“They are already criticizing [House Budget Committee Chairman] Paul Ryan for making changes in Medicare that need to be made — I think it is going to create a lot better product, a lot better healthcare for senior citizens,” he said. “But they are criticizing it because they don’t feel like they have to make any cuts. But Sean, as you know, if we don’t balance the budget, we’re going to effectively bankrupt our country. And that’s the first thing I think we need to do. And hopefully, we'll get a vote on it, in next few weeks.”
Hannity questioned reports of a House compromise on the 2011 spending plan and asked DeMint if Republicans give in on the $61 billion in cuts for this fiscal year, how will they get trillions of dollars cut from President Barack Obama’s 2012 budget.
“You are right. And I agree, Sean. But it’s hard to fix it in the middle of the year,” DeMint said. “Last year, when the Democrats had complete control of the government, they didn’t pass a budget, they didn’t fund the government. And now, [House Speaker] John Boehner is trying to pick up and make this happen.
“And [the House] did pass a $61 billion cut to the current budget, which [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid killed in the Senate. And as you said, Obama has been AWOL on any leadership here,” he continued. “So, it is hard when you just control one House of Congress to actually get this done. I’m going to continue to insist that we stick to that number. I thought it was too small when it first came to the Senate, and voted against it. Only a few of us did.
“But the big battles are ahead with the balanced budget amendment, the debt ceiling,” DeMint added. “And we need to get the American people engaged with us.”
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