Grover Norquist, others call for Balanced Budget Amendment at CPAC panel

Katie LaPotin, Red Alert PoliticsMarch 15, 2013

Having a Balanced Budget Amendment is crucial for insuring that America is financially prosperous in the future.

That was the crux of the argument during the panel “AAA America: Could a Federal Balanced Budget Amendment Save America From Congress?” at CPAC on Thursday. The panel was moderated by Americans for Tax Reform (ATR)President Grover Norquist, and featured Derrick Khanna, a former professional staff member for the House Republican Study Committee, Nick Dranias of the Goldwater Institute,National Tax Limitation Committee President Lew Uhler, and Congressman Andy Harris (R-Md.).

In his opening remarks, Norquist – one of the early leaders of the movement – praised the Ryan budget plan released earlier this week. “The Ryan plan is not a way to reduce government spending by reforming it, not cutting it or slashing it – but reforming it so it gets smaller,” he said. “The Ryan budget balances the budget and pays off the debt without raising taxes.”

Harris, who represents Maryland’s Eastern Shore and is the lone GOP member of the state’s delegation,cosponsored a Balanced Budget Amendment during the 111th Congress.

“The problem in Washington is spending,” Harris remarked. ”The Democrats don’t believe there’s a spending problem, and they don’t believe that the deficit or the debt are a problem.”

Khanna pointed out that the country’s Founding Fathers would be completely supportive of a Balanced Budget Amendment, noting that they “would be aghast at how our federal government has exploded in both size and scope.”

“If we are serious about a federal Balanced Budget Amendment, then the 30 years of Congress’ failure to act in the tradition of President Reagan and President Lincoln is past due for us to use the primary reason for the Constitution to rein in the federal government once and for all,” he said.

Along those lines, Drainas argued that we need to limit our national debt if we are to balance our budget in the future. “As long as the federal government has the illusion of limitless resources we will never have a meaningful debate over the priorities that sustain the future of a federal government that is limited to its founding constitutional ways,” he said.

Uhler, who spoke at the inaugural CPAC 40 years ago, said that he considers House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) to be “a source of optimism” for balancing the budget. Uhler also spoke about how he “had the pleasure” to help draft a Balanced Budget Amendment in the early 1980s with conservative legends including Milton Friedman, James Buchanan, and Robert Bork and what its passage would have done for American prosperity over the past thirty years.

Every state other than Vermont currently has either a Balanced Budget Amendment or similar provision in place to keep the state from overspending.

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