Rice: Balanced budget amendment key to overcoming deficit spending

House Democratic leaders have attempted to persuade the country that Washington does not have a spending problem.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi recently told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that “it’s almost a false argument to say we have a spending problem.”

With the national debt at more than $16.5 trillion and growing every second, Mrs. Pelosi is right: We do not have a spending problem. We have a spending crisis.

As a small-business owner and tax attorney, I cannot comprehend Washington’s inability to manage its finances. Currently, our government is operating on piecemeal spending bills and has not had an actual budget in nearly three years. Can you imagine if your local supermarket, drugstore and gas station operated without a budget? They would be in a mess come April 15, and probably fail to see the end of their fiscal year.

American families and businesses balance their budgets and pay their bills. Why should Washington be any different?

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer has noted that “the country has a paying-for problem,” which is backwards logic. If Washington did not have a spending problem, we would not have a paying-for problem.

The taxpayer credit card has been abused long enough, and I refuse to stand by and watch as politicians add billions to our children and grandchildren’s tabs.

Americans and South Carolinians are financially drained, which is why I have co-sponsored an amendment to the Constitution requiring a balanced budget. It is time to get our fiscal house in order, beginning with holding Washington politicians accountable for their actions.

The amendment requires the Congress to balance the annual budget by not spending more than it receives in revenue in any given fiscal year, unless approved by a three-fifths vote of each chamber.

Also, the amendment would prohibit the debt ceiling from being raised without the same three-fifths vote from each chamber. Finally, the budget could not be balanced through increased revenue, unless agreed to by a majority of each chamber.

Our country is up against serious fiscal problems, and this amendment is the first step toward a prosperous future. I will continue to work with my colleagues to get spending under control, balance the national budget and make sure more American jobs stay in America.