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Washington, DC– U.S. Senator Jim Risch joined several Senators in a news conference today announcing the introduction of a balanced budget amendment. 

“I am a co-sponsor of this amendment because we must do something about our skyrocketing debt.  A balanced budget amendment requires the federal government to make the same difficult choices that every family, business and state has to make. When we are borrowing 40 cents of every dollar the federal government spends and adding that to a $14 trillion debt, it is time to admit we have a very serious problem and it must be fixed,” said Risch.

The new balanced budget amendment takes a different approach than previous amendment attempts by capping revenue at 18 percent of Gross Domestic Product, meaning that is the level of tax revenue that can be used to fund the government.  Previous amendments focused on spending caps.  The bill uses the historic level of tax revenue as a benchmark instead of the historic level of spending.

“This approach to a balance budget is more realistic to handle our problem.  If we cap our spending at current or slightly reduced levels we will still have to borrow and we will keep adding to our debt.  This forces the federal government to do what most states do by living within their means and giving everyone an incentive to grow our economy,” Risch concluded.

The bill does have provisions allowing for increased debt limits in times of war or emergency. It will have to pass both houses of Congress by a 2/3 majority and be approved by 3/4 of states before being added to the Constitution.