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Hoyer's Newfound, Nonsensical Opposition to a Balanced Budget Amendment

November 17, 2011

“The issue of a balanced budget is not a conservative one or a liberal one, and it is not an easy one,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer in 1995 expressing his fears over the $5 trillion debt, “but it is an essential one.”

“I am absolutely convinced that the long term consequences of refusing to come to grips with the necessity to balance our budget will be catastrophic . . . [T]hose who will pay the highest price for our fiscal irresponsibility, should we fail, will be those least able to protect themselves, and the children of today and the generations of tomorrow,” Hoyer concluded.

That was Hoyer in 1995. Tomorrow the House of Representatives will once again vote for a Balanced Budget Amendment, and with the stakes immensely higher than in 1995, Rep. Hoyer has completely flip-flopped.

“What I said in 1995 I absolutely agree with today,” Hoyer told reporters recently. “Unfortunately, I did not contemplate the irresponsibility that I have seen fiscally over the last nine years, or eight years, of the Bush administration . . .


So let me get this straight. Hoyer voted in favor of a Balanced Budget Amendment in 1995 because he was worried about the long-term effects of the federal government’s $107 billion budget deficit and $5 trillion debt. And now, with annual deficits measured in the trillions and our national debt having tripled, Hoyer is whipping against a BBA? And the reason he flip-flopped is that Washington has displayed its inability to act fiscally responsible? Isn’t that one of the chief arguments for voting in favor?

It’s a statement that reeks of politics, of pointing the finger rather than extending a hand. The fact is, the debt has skyrocketed over the last decade under the direction of Presidents and lawmakers from both parties. But now is not the time to lay blame, it’s the time to build consensus that Washington simply isn’t disciplined enough to reduce spending on its own. Because as Hoyer pointed out in 1995, this is not a conservative or a liberal issue – it’s one of necessity.


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