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  • Scribecast: Sen. Mike Lee on the Need for a Balanced Budget Amendment

    Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) is a man on a mission. The freshman senator came to Washington after defeating an incumbent Republican, angering some in the GOP establishment but exciting Tea Party activists for his desire to end Washington’s reckless spending.

    He hasn’t disappointed. Lee wasted little time crusading for a Balanced Budget Amendment, bringing together different factions of the GOP earlier this year to coalesce around a single goal.

    Now that the country is engaged in a debate over the debt limit, Lee is seizing the moment to promote a plan that would finally provide accountability for Washington. He’s the author of a new book, “The Freedom Agenda: Why a Balanced Budget Amendment is Necessary to Restore Constitutional Government” (Regnery, 240 pages). He spoke to us this week about the plan and why he’s sticking to principle in the debt-limit debate.

    Listen to our interview with Sen. Mike Lee on this week’s Scribecast

    For Lee, getting his own caucus to unify around the Hatch-Lee version of the Balanced Budget Amendment wasn’t easy, but now he faces the challenge of convincing Senate Democrats as well. Fortunately, Lee said, 23 of them are already on the record in support of a balanced budget. He believes that under the right circumstances, at least 20 would vote for the plan on the Senate floor.

    As the youngest member of the U.S. Senate and a favorite of Tea Party activists, Lee certainly brings a unique perspective to the upper chamber on Capitol Hill.

    The podcast runs about 11 minutes. It was produced by Hannah Sternberg. Listen to previous interviews on Scribecast or subscribe to future episodes.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to Scribecast: Sen. Mike Lee on the Need for a Balanced Budget Amendment

    1. Research shows that, no matter the tax rates, Federal tax revenue will stay roughly 15%-20% of GDP. Raising taxes will no nothing to increase that, and will only cause those getting higher tax rates to change their behaviors to avoid paying the tax rates, thereby lowering GDP, and by extension, lowering tax income.

    2. brianbeattie says:

      I want to be for this, but I can't figure out what happens if the BBA is added and then the congress or the president don't comply.

      Budgets submitted by politicians are notoriously fuzzy, and filled with unjustified assumptions to support whatever the political agenda is. The BBA probably grants the other side standing to go to court and contest the reasonableness of the budget. How does it help us if the whole budget mess get referred ultimately to a few little dictators-for-life in black robes?

      So then what if the president simply doesn't submit a budget? Impeachment? What about congress? Recalls? Will someone please explain how this is going to work?

    3. Pingback: Sen. Mike Lee on the Need for a Balanced Budget Amendment « OBX Tea Party News

    4. NEHopson says:

      Balance, to me, means revenue equals expenditures. It doesn't cut the government. Meese suggests capping expenditures by requiring 2/3 vote of both houses to increase taxes. Sounds good but the way things are going, the R's may have that capability in 2013. I do not trust R's or D's or TP's. In my house we have a balanced budget. we spend everything we make. My home consists of 2 SS checks 2 work checks and 4 grandkids. I am totally controlled by revenue. The government should be too. Calculate current revenue to GDP ratio and stick to the ratio until government can help the economy produce more–then use the 2/3's rule to spend the excess or pay debt.

    5. able american 912 says:


    6. Bobbie says:

      Mr. Lee thank you for staying the course, not for anyone specific but for AMERICA PRINCIPLES! AND AMERICAN'S VALUE!

      We need solutions, Mr. Boehner! NO DEALS, NO COMPROMISE!

      The fault is irresponsibilities that the tax payers can't control but obligated to pay for. CUT NOW!! Make sure there is nothing the crooked reid and unfavored pelosi can stick in as safety nets to what their accountable for. Dishonest leadership is not the American way and either is giving into it.

    7. Bobbie says:

      not only that, what kind of people compromise and deal when and where FRAUD, WASTE and CORRUPTION is involved? The kind that should be jailed! The wrong kind for America! Corrections need immediate implementation with reprimand. When there are positive work ethics with efficiency then compromise and deal!

      This was the terrible acts of irresponsibility that the American people once again, are forced to suffer the consequences over matters in the hands of government to control. "We" are not in charge of the spending of the government. We have NO CONTROL over what they thieve for their corrupt use! LOOK at what THEY PAY THEMSELVES!!!

      Want an idea to pay off the debt? Stop the tax exempt status of employees who aren't paying even A SHARE! Unless we can all be tax exempt, that's part of "fair share" isn't it? It sure would help "balance" the overbearing, unacceptable budget.

      Americans don't want the government doing everything they can to create jobs. We want less government costs SO WE CAN CREATE JOBS!!!!!! the president, harry reid, pelosi etc, doesn't want to represent what America wants or they would. They rudely speak for us instead of respecting to comply to what we have to say. No raising the debt limit. that will only provoke with result in more out of control corruption, fraud, waste with no accountability. We're undeserving of this reckless behavior and it has to end… don't agree to safety nets for accountabilities…

      It's getting tough because Obama may be saying he's "not happy" just to look good but his double talk is dangerous! Please be careful…

    8. Pingback: Washington in a Flash: Politicians Strike a Deal, Conservatives Seek a Solution

    9. Pingback: Morning Bell: Liberals Force Choice Between Economic and National Security

    10. Peter Konetchy says:

      I definitely agree with the concept of Cut, Cap, and Balance, in that I understand that we must Cut and Cap spending and definitely Balance the budget, but I cannot support this proposed constitutional amendment for the following 4 reasons.

      1st) The constitution is ignored by every branch of government whenever its limitations are found inconvenient. Why should we add another constitutional provision when the current provisions are ignored? For example, there is no constitutional authority to spend money on any power not enumerated in the constitution. (Article 1 Section 8 clearly authorizes Congress "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States". Article 1 Section 9 then clearly states that: "No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law;" Therefore, money may be drawn from the treasury only in the performance of specific constitutionally enumerated powers. )

      If this provision of the constitution were upheld we would not need this amendment. There could be no federal spending, influence, or control or items such as health and human services, housing and urban development, education, energy, labor, the EPA, or any other function not constitutionally authorized. All these functions would be handled much more efficiently by the people, free market, or the States.

      2nd) The BBA caps federal spending at 18 – 20% of GDP. It is a little known fact that for the great majority of our nation’s life federal spending averaged only 2-3% of GDP – (from 1787 through 1930). We had no need for an income tax and no debt. Only when the federal government ignored its constitutional limitations, and started to insert its control into every aspect of society after 1930, did the country encounter economic ruin. Federal spending now tops 25% of GDP. My goal is to fight to limit government to its constitutional duties and once again limit federal spending to its proven historical average of less than 5% of GDP- about 75% less than the BBA limit. At this level we could once again raise federal revenue as our founders proposed and eliminate direct federal, taxes against the individuals. The BBA will legitimize spending close to its historical high. I cannot accept this level. If passed, this amendment would then set precedent granting congress authority to spend well outside of all other constitutional provisions.

      3rd) This amendment is based on the incompetence of elected representatives. You can’t legislate competence any more than you can legislate morality. For example: how can we guarantee that the defense budget won't be gutted if incompetent, self serving politicians need money for their pet social projects? It opens up the possibility of unlimited unintended consequences.

      4) We don't need an amendment to balance the budget. It will take 2/3rds of both houses and 3/4 of the states to pass a BBA – requiring a very lengthy time. Are we going to deficit spend until the amendment is passed? If we have overwhelming support for this amendment, why don't we use a simple majority (51% of congress) to simply adopt a balanced budget without the BBA? If the president vetoes the balanced budget, congress can override the veto with the same majority needed to pass the BBA. We can do this immediately without wait.

      I think that some amendments to the constitution are extremely destructive – such as the 17th amendment. I do not want to adopt another which could have disastrous consequences for future generations. The only solution to the countries social and economic problems is to restore constitutional restraint, educate ourselves about those who are abusing our trust, and vote self serving politicians out of office.

      Peter Konetchy for Senate in Michigan – 2012

      • Bobbie says:

        nobody questioned what was happening to the constitution in the last 30 years. everyone trusted those who vowed to uphold it. As the Constitution does not reflect any of mankind inferior to it's meaning, racist democrats decided to interpret that it does reflect inferiority and those are the people democrats hold the hands of and pay their special interests to promoting a false sense of inferiority with everyone elses money. To call out anyone as inferior, is unimaginable disrespect to human life in America! We're here to help each other, no appreciation for government's condescension.

        Insulting mankind without many of the insulted knowing… it's just ugly!!

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