WASHINGTON — Both of Robeson County’s congressmen say it’s time for the federal government to stop busting its budget.
“Now more than ever, Congress should pass a balanced budget amendment and stop spending money our nation doesn’t have,” said Rep. Mike McIntyre, the 7th District representative and the co-sponsor of a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. “Our mounting public debt is a clear threat to our economy, job growth, national security and the well-being of our future generations, and it must be addressed.
“I have long and consistently supported a balanced budget amendment in order to ensure that our nation spends only what we take in and that we return to a path of sustainable budgeting.”
McIntyre, a Lumberton native and Democrat, used to represent all of Robeson County, but redistricting took all but a slice of the county out of that district.
Rep. Richard Hudson, a freshman Republican from Concord, represents the 8th District, which includes most of Robeson County.
“One of my top priorities in office is to advance a balanced budget amendment,” Hudson said. “This is necessary for both short-term and long-term economic prosperity and job growth. Americans balance their budget at the kitchen table. It’s nonsensical that Washington can’t do the same.”
According to Americans for a Balanced Budget Amendment, a national non-partisan organization “dedicated to passage of a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” the current national debt is now more than $16 trillion and rapidly growing. As of early Saturday morning, this amounted to a debt of $52,226 for each U.S. citizen, and a debt of $145,819 for each U.S. taxpayer, according to the website usdebtclock.org.
Americans for a Balanced Budget Amendment says the portion of the debt we pay interest on has doubled in the past four years.
“Interest on debt represents the third biggest item in the federal budget after defense and programs (Social Security and Medicare) for the elderly,” according to the non-partisan group.
As proposed, the balanced budget amendment would require that total federal spending for any fiscal year be less than the total amount of money received by the government, an increase in the debt limit be approved in the House by a three-fifths vote and the budget the president presents to Congress each year be balanced.
McIntyre said 49 out of 50 states currently have balanced-budget requirements.
“Families all across our nation understand what it means to make tough decisions every day about what they can and can’t afford,” he said. “Certainly our government should be just as responsible when it comes to the hard-earned dollars of our nation’s citizens.”