Sen. Carper Statement on Balanced Budget Amendment Vote

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following statement after he voted for S.J.Res.24, a joint resolution proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution of the United States, introduced by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.). The resolution failed by a vote of 21 to 79.

“When I was a member of the House of Representatives in the 1980s, our country was deep in the red and we were looking at a variety of tools to dig us out of the hole we were in. During that time, I championed and helped gather votes for a bipartisan balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that I believed would help rein in spending and put the country on strong financial footing. That effort failed by a handful of votes, but the debate helped focus the country’s attention on the need to balance the budget. Several years later, even without the amendment in place, President Clinton and a Republican Congress worked together to enact strong budget caps and sensible tax policy. The end result was four years of budget surpluses, from 1998 through 2001. Then came the Bush tax cuts, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the most severe economic recession since the 1930s.

“Our country went from budget surpluses as far as the eye could see to budget deficits as far as the eye can see, and Washington is struggling to address them, to put it mildly. That’s why, today, I once again supported Senator Mark Udall’s balanced budget constitutional amendment, which is similar to the one I helped champion during my time in the House. My hope is that, despite its failure, we can still muster the courage to do what we did in the 1990s and balance our budget. We don’t need a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution to do what we know is right. What we need is leadership, courage and to be mindful of our responsibility to the American taxpayer.”