November 19, 2011
WASHINGTON - Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement today following his No vote on the Balanced Budget Amendment:
"I opposed the balanced budget amendment considered by the House for two reasons. First, it does nothing to address the immediate challenges we face in our budget or in this economic crisis. Congress has repeatedly created commissions or rhetorically claimed that at some future date they will try to get our federal deficit under control. But that's the easy part. The tough part is actually cutting the spending and raising the revenue necessary to get us on a path to fiscal responsibility. This amendment again failed to do that. I strongly believe that Congress passing a ten-year plan that cuts spending and raises revenue in a way that gives people confidence that our government will finally get its fiscal house in order is a critical part of solving our economic crisis. But this bill simply delayed the tough decisions necessary to make that happen.
"I also oppose this amendment because there are rare circumstances when running an annual deficit is necessary. In an economic crisis or national emergency, requiring a balanced budget would have a devastating impact on our economy. If this amendment were in effect during the 2008 financial crisis, it would have required deep spending cuts or tax increases at a time when such action would have made our economy much worse.
"Congress has the power to do what is necessary to balance the budget without a restrictive constitutional amendment. We don’t need another distraction. We must make the tough decisions on what spending to cut and what revenues to raise."