Update by Erick: The legislation passed 253-167 with 26 Democrats voting in favor of it.
Republicans are the minority party in Washington. We don’t run the Democrat-controlled Senate and we don’t control the White House. Part of our responsibility to the country, as the minority party, is to hold the majority accountable and provide a positive contrast in policy. Nonetheless, House Republicans have taken a leading role and have been unwavering in our commitment to solving the nation’s fiscal challenges through sensible, pro-growth policies and long-term reforms. We believe it is only fair that the Democrat majority in the Senate and President Obama bring to the table a similar level of commitment and a plan to solve those challenges.
House Republicans were successful last month in pressuring the Senate to finally agree to pass a budget, but it took threatening to withhold their pay to make it happen. Today, with the Require a PLAN Act, we are taking an additional measure in order to ensure that whenever President Obama decides to finally submit his budget to Congress, that he proposes a way to balance the budget; something worthy of the extraordinary fiscal crisis facing our nation.
We live in extraordinarily challenging times. Our national debt exceeds $16 trillion, nearly $6 trillion of which was added under the current administration in a single term. President Obama has also overseen four straight years of trillion-dollar-plus federal budget deficits. All of this comes as we have seen anemic economic growth and lackluster job creation leaving millions of Americans without work.
The American people are demanding action now because they overwhelmingly reject the rampant fiscal irresponsibility in Washington. They have demanded time and time again that Washington get serious about the tremendous fiscal challenges threatening the future of our nation. The American people understand that it is a moral responsibility that we do everything in our power to preserve and protect the American Dream for our children and our grandchildren. Having a budget is one of the most basic obligations of government, and it is essential to putting us on a path to paying off the national debt, fostering free enterprise, harnessing the innovative spirit of the American people in fields like energy production, and protecting the guarantees of Medicare and Social Security for our seniors.
Now, the White House has – yet again – missed the legal deadline to propose its annual budget. Since the President is intent on taking this extra time, we don’t think it’s unreasonable for us to expect President Obama to present a plan that brings our federal budget into balance – at some point in the future. That’s all the Require a PLAN Act would do. If the president’s original budget submission does not balance, then he ought to offer us – and more importantly, the American people – a plan that shows what it would take for his budget to actually balance and when.
The Require a PLAN Act gives President Obama the opportunity to finally acknowledge that chasing ever higher spending with ever higher taxes will never solve the problem. Perhaps, the administration will recognize what the American people have known all along – that our spending-driven debt crisis is threatening the future of this country, diminishing the prospects of opportunity and prosperity for future generations. Perhaps, the White House and Senate Democrats will work with House Republicans to advance positive solutions that secure the American Dream for future generations while keeping the promises made to our seniors.
House Republicans will continue to demonstrate real leadership by putting forward plans to balance the nation’s budget and get our fiscal house in order, so that the economy can begin to thrive, more jobs can be created, and more dreams realized. But we can’t ultimately solve these challenges alone. Saving our country will take good ideas and good will from folks across the political spectrum. It must start now.
The first step is showing up. House Republicans have and will continue to responsibly govern. Today, we call on the President to do the same.