When he was Governor of North Dakota, Senator John Hoeven liked to spend. Every single budget he introduced as governor raised state spending by double-digit amounts. Over the last eight years of Hoeven’s governance the State of North Dakota has increased spending 100%.
But, to be fair, none of that spending was deficit spending. For better or worse, North Dakota spent money that North Dakota had to spend thanks to the state’s balanced budget language in its constitution. I’ve always wondered if the big-spending Hoeven might not be so free-spending when he’s at the federal level with its huge budge deficits. The jury is still out on that question, but Hoeven joining a number of his fellow Senators in introducing a balanced budget amendment to the constitution is a step in the right direction.
From a press release sent out by Hoeven’s office:
WASHINGTON – At a news conference TODAY, U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, John Cornyn (R-Texas) and a group of their colleagues will unveil a Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution. The proposed amendment would bring down the nation’s skyrocketing national debt by requiring balanced budgets and prohibiting deficit spending or tax increases unless approved by two-thirds of the House and Senate.
The Senators involved, in addition to Hoeven, are Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), John Ensign (R-Nevada), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), Mark Kirk (R-Illinois), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
What hope does an amendment like this have in a Democrat-controlled Senate with President Obama waiting with a veto pen? Not much, probably, but it will make Democrats have to vote against balancing the budget. That won’t sit well in the current political atmosphere.