U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander on Wednesday announced he will be an original cosponsor of a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“For eight years as governor, I balanced Tennessee’s budget, and other states balance their budgets—I don’t see why Washington can’t do the same,” said Alexander, a Tennessee Republican.
The second-term senator said the federal government is borrowing 42 cents of every dollar it spends, and that’s money the country dosen’t have.
“We must make tough decisions now to fix the debt,” he said.
The proposal by Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, would require that the president submit, and Congress pass, a balanced budget. It would require a supermajority vote in both the House and Senate to raise taxes or increase the debt limit.
It also would cap spending at 18 percent of gross domestic product, which is roughly equal to the historical revenue average of 18.1 percent of gross domestic product. Under President Obama, spending was nearly 23 percent of GDP, according to the Congressional Budget Office, a press release said.
The release said the Congressional Budget Office has predicted that, by 2025, every tax dollar the federal government collects will go toward entitlement spending like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, as well as interest on the debt.
“The Medicare trustees have said that within 12 years, the Medicare program will not have enough money to pay all of its hospital bills,” Alexander said.
Alexander and fellow Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker have introduced the “Dollar for Dollar Act,” which would reduce the growth in entitlement spending by $1 trillion. He also is an original cosponsor of the “No Budget, No Pay Act,” which would cut off pay to members of Congress if they don’t pass a budget and all 12 appropriations bills by the beginning of the fiscal year Oct. 1.