Washington D.C.--In a call for the passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment and "fiscal sanity," Wyoming's newest U.S. Senator, Mike Enzi, made his first statement on the Senate floor today.
Enzi, who is a co-sponsor of the measure, said the passage of the Balanced Budget Amendment is the most important issue facing Wyoming and the entire nation.
"History shows we cannot balance the budget with willpower alone. It's time to look at the hard, cold facts," he said. "We now have a $5.2 trillion federal debt."
A figure Enzi said is so big, "even our top paid athletes who make millions, don't know how big a trillion is."
Enzi specifically chose the Balanced Budget Amendment as the first legislative item on his agenda because the bill "is a critical link to the future." He told his fellow senators that American families will suffer, national security will be at risk and important programs such as Social Security will end in ruin if the Balanced Budget Amendment is not passed.
"The economic future of America's families depends on what we do now. American families depend on the success of the Balanced Budget Amendment," said Enzi. "My family is very important to me. I'm sure your families are important to you as well. Everyday that passes without a balanced budget hurts our kids. The responsibility of the debt falls on the shoulders of our children and our grandchildren."
Enzi also spoke about the effect an unchecked debt has on the standing of the U.S. in the world.
"The national security of the United States is also threatened," Enzi said. "We will be unable to afford to defend our interests abroad. We will be unable to protect Americans--their jobs and their families. We cannot leave ourselves exposed to economic collapse."
Enzi borrowed from Thomas Jefferson, who named public debt as "the greatest of dangers to be feared," to further drive home his point.
"He knew that a large public debt could make the United States a slave to other countries and foreign interests," said Enzi. "We are taxing future generations of Americans without representation. Our founding fathers would be embarrassed." Enzi dismissed Balanced Budget Amendment opponents' claims that it will require drastic cuts in important social programs such as Social Security.
"Only by balancing the federal budget can we guarantee long-term security to any federal program, including Social Security. By balancing the budget, we serve those living on fixed income retirement programs," said Enzi. "Interest rates will decrease. Inflation will be held in check. Business will have true growth. Jobs will increase." Enzi disputed claims from Democrats in Congress and the executive branch that a balanced budget will be achieved without a constitutional amendment.
"We have not had a balanced federal budget since 1969. In fact, that year was the only year we balanced a budget in 40 years," said Enzi. "I was one of those candidates who vowed to actively pursue passage of the Balanced Budget Amendment and the people supported me. A Balanced Budget Amendment was the key to voter confidence. Failure to support this issue will diminish that confidence and could lead to the defeat of other candidates in two years. "
Enzi said Wyoming and most other states are required by their own constitutions to balance their budgets. Balanced budgets are necessities for business owners and families and he said it's time for the federal government to turn the corner and require a balanced budget or America will have turned its back on the future of America.