“The only real leverage Republicans in Congress have to force a liberal White House and a liberal Democratic Senate to reduce spending and put the nation on a course to fiscal responsibility is to insist on substantial budget cuts in exchange for an increase in the debt ceiling. The McConnell plan, if put into effect, will result in hundreds of billions of dollars of additional debt while the Washington spending machine continues to spin out of control,” Stenberg said.
“If the Republicans in Congress follow the minority leader they will likely become a permanent minority. More importantly, they will have failed our nation, and failed the voters who put them in office to fight to restrain federal spending,” Stenberg said.
“We are seeing the same type of fear tactics that were used to pass TARP. The President knows that there are adequate federal revenues to pay the interest on the existing debt, Social Security and Medicare without additional borrowing. If Social Security checks are not received by the beneficiaries, it will be because the Obama administration gives a higher priority to paying other obligations of the federal government than to paying its Social Security obligations.
“The debt limit should be increased, but only if the following three conditions are met.
• One. Substantial cuts in spending that would reduce the deficit next year and thereafter.
• Two. The enactment of enforceable spending caps that would put federal spending on a path to a balanced budget.
• Three. Congressional passage of an amendment to the United States Constitution to require a balanced federal budget. The balanced budget provision of our state constitution works well here in Nebraska. We need to put that same spending restraint on the politicians in Washington.
“Thus far, 12 United States Senators have promised not to increase the federal debt limit unless these three conditions are met. Those senators are Senators Coburn, DeMint, Graham, Hatch, Heller, Inhofe, Lee, Moran, Paul, Rubio, Toomey, and Vitter.”
“If I were a United States Senator today, I would stand with them to put our nation on a path to economic security,” Stenberg said.
“The proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States that I support would do the following.”
1. It would require the Congress and the President to submit a balanced budget each year.
This requirement could only be waived by super majority votes of the Congress or during a declared war. The exceptions would be as follows.
• A two-thirds vote of Congress for a specific deficit for a fiscal year.
• A majority vote of Congress for a specific deficit for a fiscal year during a declared war.
• A 3/5 vote of Congress for a specific deficit for a fiscal year during a military conflict declared to be an imminent and serious military threat to national security, and the deficit must be limited to outlays made necessary by the identified conflict.
2. A super majority of two-thirds of both houses of Congress would be required for any new tax or increases in the statutory rate of any tax.
3. A super majority of 3/5 of both houses of Congress would be required to increase the debt limit; except only a majority would we would be required for a fiscal year during a declared war.
4. Federal spending would be limited to 18% of gross domestic product. The spending limit could only be exceeded by a super majority vote of the Congress as follows.
A two-thirds vote of Congress for a specific excess above 18% for a fiscal year.
A majority vote for a specific excess above 18% for a fiscal year during a declared war.
A 3/5 vote of Congress for a specific excess above 18% for a fiscal year during a military conflict declared to be an imminent and serious military threat to national security with the excess to be limited to outlays made necessary by the identified conflict.
5. The amendment would prohibit the courts from ordering revenue increases to enforce the amendment.
“The amendment would become effective the fifth fiscal year after ratification by the States.”
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Mr. Stenberg served as Nebraska Attorney General from 1990-2002 and was elected Nebraska State Treasurer in 2010. GOP U.S. Senate nominee in 2000 against Ben Nelson. Genuine, lifelong conservative. Supports 2nd Amendment, pro-life, balanced budget.