WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today voted in favor of the Cut, Cap and Balance legislation that would restructure the budget of the federal government, returning spending to sustainable levels and bringing the country back from the brink of a fiscal disaster. The bill would cut current spending, cap future spending, and amend the Constitution to require Congress to pass a balanced budget. The bill failed to advance, 46-51.
"Cutting spending and balancing the budget is the only way we will get our fiscal house in order," Johanns said. "Our financial situation is a mess, and the lack of leadership and commitment to cleaning it up in the Senate and the White House has been exasperating. The seriousness of our budget crisis cannot be overstated, and the Cut, Cap and Balance legislation would ensure a sound future for our children and grandchildren."
The Cut, Cap and Balance legislation would restore fiscal sustainability in three ways:
• Cut: The bill cuts current spending, return expenditures to Fiscal Year 2008 levels.
• Cap: It reins in the projections of future spending, restraining it to 19.9 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product by 2017.
• Balance: It would require Congress to pass a balanced budget amendment and send it to the states for ratification. The bill would become the 28th Amendment to the Constitution, requiring Congress to pass balanced budgets, eliminating future budget deficits.
As a Constitutional amendment, the "balance" portion of the legislation would require not only the support of two-thirds of both Houses of Congress, but three-fourths of state legislatures as well. The "cut" and "cap" portions would have become law upon passage in Congress and the President's signature.
Lastly, the Cut, Cap and Balance legislation would raise the debt ceiling, allowing the country time to pay its current bills and giving state legislatures time to ratify the balanced budget amendment.