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An Open Letter to the U.S. House of Representatives: Support Representative Istook's Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution

June 24, 2005

Dear Representative:

On behalf of our 350,000 members across America, I write to offer the National Taxpayers Union's strong support for your Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) Resolution that will soon be introduced in Congress. While the nation briefly enjoyed the benefits of a federal budget in surplus, with the most important benefit being the return of tax dollars to over-burdened taxpayers, we are once again careening down the road of limitless federal deficits.

Nearly four years have passed since the terrorist attacks on America led to an economic downturn and a costly war on terrorism that moved the federal government back into the red. That excuse is no longer valid for ongoing budget deficits. Over the past year the nation's economy has been growing at a rapid pace, but the proclivity of Congress has been to spend even more. Something must be done now to address this deplorable situation once and for all.

The obvious answer is a strong Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The proposed bipartisan BBA is the very same bipartisan Resolution (H. J. Res. 1) that passed the House on a 300 to 132 vote in 1995. This BBA, like H. J. Res. 1, has the strength and flexibility to work, and work well.

It is also important to note that this Balanced Budget Amendment does not succumb to those who would enshrine Social Security and other government programs in the Constitution. Opponents of a balanced federal budget will certainly attempt to use Social Security and other popular exemptions to load the Amendment with loopholes. This BBA Resolution stands strong on its own, and, just as in 1995, any further amendment would only subvert its effectiveness and facilitate excessive spending.

Again, the National Taxpayers Union urges every Member of the House to support and cosponsor Congressman Istook's proposed Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.


Paul J. Gessing
Director of Government Affairs