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03 August 2011

Mayer & Dempsey: Missouri Senate Leaders Call Upon Congress to Send States a Balanced Budget Amendment

JEFFERSON CITY – A recent agreement reached by congressional leaders and the president in Washington, D.C., has Missouri Senate Leader Robert N. Mayer, R-Dexter, and Senate Majority Floor Leader Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, calling on Congress to pass a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution by the end of this year.

The compromise made this past weekend in Washington addresses the nation’s debt limit and includes a provision that would bring the issue of a balanced budget amendment up for a vote by federal lawmakers. If approved by Congress, it would be sent to the states for ratification. An amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires the approval of three-fourths of the state legislatures (38 of 50).

Sen. Mayer says despite this agreement and the promise of substantial cuts in spending, the federal budget remains out of balance to the tune of trillions of dollars.

“It’s high time to bring our runaway debt under control. Today, we call on Congress to move quickly and send the states a well-drafted balanced budget amendment,” said Mayer. “We would like to make Missouri one of the very first states to ratify this important proposal.”

Unlike many states, including Missouri — which cannot spend more than it takes in — the federal government is not bound by any balanced budget provision. This important safeguard, says Dempsey, forces the governor and lawmakers in Missouri to live within their means. Dempsey says the solution to the problem of wasteful spending is to bring a healthy dose of common sense from the Show-Me State to Washington, D.C.

“I am convinced that voluntary budget cuts will not work over the long-term. Real reform will only happen when the federal government is forced by a balanced budget amendment to control excess spending,” said Dempsey. “Recently, I have written to the sponsors of the Balanced Budget Amendment in the U.S. Senate to let them know I will work to secure its ratification here in Missouri. When the Missouri Senate reconvenes in January, I will also ask my colleagues to approve an official resolution calling on Congress to send us a balanced budget amendment so that we can quickly ratify and put it into effect.”

“The current levels of federal spending and borrowing cannot be sustained,” said Mayer. “Rather than sit idly by as our children and grandchildren are saddled with mounting levels of debt, we must take action to give Washington a backbone when it comes to a balanced budget.”

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