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Public Papers - 1990

Letter to Congressional Leaders on the Balanced Budget Amendment

1990-07-16

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. Leader:)

I am writing to urge prompt adoption of H.J. Res. 268, which proposes an amendment to the Constitution to provide for a balanced budget for the United States Government and for greater accountability in the enactment of tax legislation. In order to help restore fiscal integrity to the Government, we need such a balanced budget amendment, along with a line-item veto constitutional amendment, and enhanced rescission authority for the President. Together with political courage and discipline, these tools are vital to solving the problem of budget deficits.

A constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget is the most fundamental change needed in the Federal budget process. A balanced budget amendment is both necessary and appropriate to protect the interests of citizens not now able to represent themselves: the citizens of future generations. The seriousness of this issue is reflected in the fact that more than 30 State legislatures have already called for a constitutional convention for this purpose. As for alternatives that would require statutorily a balanced budget, such alternatives are an inadequate substitute for a constitutional amendment.

Sections 2 and 4 of H.J. Res. 268 raise technical concerns related to the public debt and taxes, respectively. These concerns are addressed separately in a Statement of Administration Policy on H.J. Res. 268.

I am prepared to continue working with the Congress to enact meaningful, credible, and effective budget reforms. Adoption of H.J. Res. 268 will be an important first step toward this goal, which is crucial to our Nation's long term economic health and prosperity.

Sincerely,

George Bush

Note: Identical letters were sent to Thomas S. Foley, Speaker of the House of Representatives; Richard A. Gephardt, House majority leader; and Robert H. Michel, House Republican leader.

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