“The issue of a balanced budget is not a conservative one ora liberal one, and it is not an easy one,” saidRep. Steny Hoyer in 1995 expressing his fears over the $5 trillion debt, “butit is an essential one.”
“I am absolutely convinced that the long term consequencesof refusing to come to grips with the necessity to balance our budget will becatastrophic . . . [T]hose who will pay the highest price for our fiscalirresponsibility, should we fail, will be those least able to protectthemselves, and the children of today and the generations of tomorrow,” Hoyer concluded.
That was Hoyer in 1995. Tomorrow the House ofRepresentatives will once again vote for a Balanced Budget Amendment, and withthe stakes immensely higher than in 1995, Rep. Hoyer has completelyflip-flopped.
“What I said in 1995 I absolutely agree with today,” Hoyer told reporters recently. “Unfortunately, I did not contemplate theirresponsibility 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 BalancedBudget Amendment in 1995 because he was worried about the long-term effects ofthe federal government’s $107 billion budget deficit and $5 trillion debt. Andnow, with annual deficits measured in the trillions and our national debthaving tripled, Hoyer is whipping against a BBA? And the reason he flip-floppedis that Washington has displayed its inability to act fiscally responsible? Isn’tthat one of the chief arguments for voting in favor?
It’s a statement that reeks of politics, of pointing thefinger rather than extending a hand. The fact is, the debt has skyrocketed overthe last decade under the direction of Presidents and lawmakers from both parties. But now is not the time tolay blame, it’s the time to build consensus that Washington simply isn’tdisciplined enough to reduce spending on its own. Because as Hoyer pointed outin 1995, this is not a conservative or a liberal issue – it’s one of necessity.