As he does at the start of every session of Congress, Congressman Goodlatte has introduced a “balanced budget” amendment to the US Constitution, requiring that Congress spend no more than it receives in revenues unless three-fifths majorities in both houses of Congress approve deficit spending.
Goodlatte piously proclaimed:
“It is time for Congress to finally put an end to fiscal irresponsibility and stop saddling future generations with crushing debts to pay for our current spending. We must rise above partisanship and join together to send a balanced budget amendment to the states for ratification.”
But here’s the thing about Goodlatte: his vaunted fiscal conservatism only seems to kick in when a Democrat happens to be president.
Goodlatte’s votes in Congress– along with those of other Republicans and some Democrats– helped turn the budget surplus that George W. Bush inherited from Bill Clinton in 2001 into the huge budget deficit that Barack Obama inherited from Bush in 2009.
While supporting Bush’s across-the-board tax cuts, which cost the Treasury $1.8 trillion in the first eight years, Goodlatte also voted for the president’s unfunded Medicare prescription drug program ($495 billion from general revenue through 2015), as well as the hugely expensive and unfunded wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (at least $1.6 trillion through 2014).
For Goodlatte, introducing a balanced budget amendment is like saying, “Stop me before I slash hundreds of billions in revenue and spend hundreds of billions we don’t have again.”
It will be interesting to see how Goodlatte votes if Donald Trump’s proceeds with his plans to further increase the federal debt by cutting taxes while boosting military and infrastructure spending and building a wall on the Mexican border.