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Mike Pence: Support the Budget Control Act

U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, R-6th, delivered the following speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday morning:

"As America watches and the world watches from afar, Washington, D.C. debates a debt ceiling increase and debates various proposals for confronting it in a manner that is consistent with our commitment to this generation and the next.

"For the past 10 years, I have been fighting runaway federal spending, deficits, debt, and bailouts here in Washington, D.C., by both political parties.

"Now, I recognize if you owe debts, pay debts.

"This Congress has an obligation to defend the full faith and credit of the United States of America and find a way to pay our bills. But this Congress also has an obligation to keep faith with this and future generations by restoring fiscal responsibility and discipline to our national treasury.

"I have come to the conclusion over the last decade that Washington, D.C., is not only broke, it's broken. A colleague of mine said earlier this week, 'the American people don't just want a deal, they want a solution.' And I rise to say that I believe a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is that solution.

"I told my colleagues earlier this week I did not want to vote for any increase in the debt ceiling unless this Congress did everything in its power to send a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Senate and to the states.

"Earlier today we learned that Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor have made a decision for this Friday to bring two separate Balanced Budget Amendments to the floor, and I heartily support their decision.

"The first Balanced Budget Amendment will include spending limitations and require a supermajority on tax increases. And I support those measures.

"But the second Balanced Budget Amendment hasn't seen action here on the House floor for 15 years. Fifteen years ago what is commonly referred to as the 'historic' or the 'clean' Balanced Budget Amendment received overwhelming and bipartisan support, some 300 votes on the floor of the House of Representatives and almost passed the Senate.

"I believe that by bringing that historic Balanced Budget Amendment to the floor of this Congress this week, we are doing all we can to send a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Senate and to the states and with that I inform my colleagues today that I will support the Boehner plan. I will support the Budget Control Act, and I urge all of my colleagues to join me in doing the same.

"The Budget Control Act has much to recommend it. It has no tax increases, and we have confirmed from the CBO, dollar-for-dollar spending cuts to match any increase in the debt ceiling. And there are mechanisms for additional cuts and additional reforms.

"But the Budget Control Act also includes a requirement that the Senate vote between October and November of this year on a Balanced Budget Amendment. Again, let me say a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution has not been considered in the Congress for 15 years despite overwhelming public support across this country.

"Now, I am for the version of the Balanced Budget Amendment with various limits, but I believe it's vitally important that Republican leadership has chosen to bring the bipartisan version to the floor, to play it straight, and give us a fighting chance to get the two-thirds votes necessary to amend the Constitution.

"I rise to announce my support for the Budget Control Act. I rise to express gratitude to Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor who listened to colleagues like myself who thought we could improve the circumstances of this vote by accelerating and improving our choices for a Balanced Budget Amendment.

"And frankly I also rise to commend all of my colleagues who have held out for a better deal. I want to say from my heart, this is better.

"History is often made in unexpected ways and at unexpected times. I believe with the consideration of the Budget Control Act on the floor today, we have an opportunity to make progress toward restoring fiscal discipline to Washington, D.C. But I believe with consideration of the Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution of the United States tomorrow, we have an opportunity to make history.

"So I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting the Budget Control Act on the floor today. But I also urge all of my colleagues, Republicans and Democrats alike, to join us as we make a good-faith effort to send a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution of the United States to the Senate and to the states.

"Let us put into the national charter that this national government for this generation and the next, must again live within our means."

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