Thursday, May 25, 2023

Letter and Draft Bill Proposal to Representative Griffith Concerning a Balanced Budget


Dr. William E. Amos
Union Hall, Virginia 24276
weamos@vt.edu
May 24, 2023

The Honorable Morgan Griffith
2202 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515


Dear Representative Griffith,

I am William Amos, a retired high-tech executive living in Union Hall, Virginia. Today, I am writing to express my deep concern about the ongoing budget debates in Congress. As a concerned citizen, I recognize the complexities surrounding this issue and appreciate the diligence you bring to our national deliberations. However, we need to shift our focus to a more structured dialog about spending and planning.

The perpetual gridlock around budget negotiations is concerning. While most states, businesses, and individuals are required to maintain balanced budgets, the Federal Government operates under different rules. This disparity does not align with many Americans' fiscal responsibility expectations.

A budget should be a tool for planning and compromise, a manifestation of strategic thinking that anticipates future needs and contingencies. Yet, our current political climate appears increasingly vulnerable to factional interests, pushing us closer to financial instability and potentially enabling other currencies to become the global benchmark.

Therefore, I propose that we seriously consider the introduction of a bill requiring a balanced budget. This proposal should preserve the essential components of debate and compromise but necessitate that these processes unfold within a defined timeline and follow established rules.

I acknowledge the concerns raised against a balanced budget amendment, namely the need for flexibility during times of war or economic downturn. However, with thoughtful planning and specific provisions for such emergencies, we can address these concerns while upholding fiscal responsibility.

I have drafted an outline for such a bill, which is attached for your consideration. I would appreciate your insight and feedback on this proposal and urge you to consider bringing this issue to the forefront of congressional debate.

Thank you for your service to our country and for your attention to this matter. I look forward to hearing about the steps you plan to take regarding this crucial issue.

Sincerely,


William E. Amos

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BILL Proposal

To require a balanced budget for the United States and enact additional budgetary reforms.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.


This Act may be cited as the "Federal Balanced Budget and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023".

SECTION 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

(a) FINDINGS - The Citizens of the United States find that:

Fiscal responsibility is essential to the economic prosperity of the United States.

A balanced budget will contribute to financial stability and sustainability.

A biennial budget process can improve long-term planning and efficiency in government spending.

(b) PURPOSE - This Act aims to establish requirements for the federal budget to ensure fiscal responsibility by mandating that the United States government not spend more than its projected revenues and by enacting a biennial budget process.

SECTION 3. DEFINITIONS.

In this Act: (a) The term "fiscal biennium" refers to a two-year period consisting of two consecutive fiscal years. (b) The term "projected revenues" refers to the total expected incoming revenue for the United States for a given fiscal biennium, as the Congressional Budget Office estimates. (c) The term "budget outlays" refers to the planned government spending for a fiscal biennium. (d) The term "deficit spending" refers to the amount by which spending exceeds revenue over a particular period, typically a fiscal biennium.

SECTION 4. PROHIBITION OF DEFICIT SPENDING.

(a) The United States shall not engage in deficit spending. (b) Any debts incurred to cover deficits in the revenue of the United States must be repaid within the next fiscal biennium. (c) Debts incurred to cover deficits shall be at most 1.15% of the total projected revenues for any fiscal biennium.


SECTION 5. BIENNIAL BUDGET.

(a) Beginning with the fiscal biennium following the enactment of this Act, the President shall submit a budget for each fiscal biennium to Congress. (b) Congress shall only adjourn or recess once a balanced budget for the fiscal biennium is enacted.


SECTION 6. REVENUE ESTIMATION AND SHORTFALLS.

(a) Revenue estimates shall be carefully calculated and agreed upon by the President and Congress. (b) If, during a fiscal biennium, the Congressional Budget Office projects that total revenues for the fiscal biennium will be less than total budget outlays for the fiscal biennium, the President shall submit a revised budget to Congress within 30 days. (c) The revised budget must reduce outlays to ensure they stay within projected revenues.

SECTION 7. RAINY DAY FUND.

(a) A 'Rainy Day Fund' will be established, into which a certain percentage of surplus revenue shall be deposited in years of economic growth to offset potential future budget shortfalls. (b) The specifics of the 'Rainy Day Fund', including the percentage of surplus to be deposited, the conditions under which funds can be withdrawn, and the management of the Fund, will be determined by Congress.

SECTION 8. FAILURE TO ENACT A BUDGET.

(a) If a balanced budget is not enacted by October 1 of the first year of the fiscal biennium, an automatic reduction of budget outlays will occur, starting at 5% and increasing by 1% each week until a balanced budget is passed. (b) In the event of such a reduction, the President shall take all necessary and appropriate steps to ensure that the United States does not default on its debt obligations, consistent with the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

SECTION 9. ENTITLEMENT PROGRAM REFORMS.

(a) Congress acknowledges that entitlement programs, including but not limited to Social Security and Medicare, represent significant financial obligations. (b) To ensure the long-term financial stability of these programs, Congress shall review and consider reforms such as adjusting the retirement age, revising benefit structures, or altering taxation structures as it pertains to these programs but shall cause no harm to current retirees or individuals eligible for retirement within the next five years of the signing of this bill.

SECTION 10. BIPARTISAN BUDGET REFORM COMMISSION.

(a) A Bipartisan Budget Reform Commission is hereby established. (b) The Commission shall consist of members of Congress, private sector experts, and representatives from interest groups, with an equal number of members from both major political parties. (c) The Commission shall study the federal budget deficit, explore opportunities for budget reform, and submit a report to Congress with its recommendations. (d) Congress shall consider the recommendations of the Commission in its budget deliberations.

SECTION 11. CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

(a) Congress proposes a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget, which shall be forwarded to the states for ratification per Article V of the Constitution.

SECTION 12. EFFECTIVE DATE.


This Act shall apply to the budget for the fiscal biennium beginning after the date of the enactment of this Act.

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