President Obama advocates a balanced approach, Sen. Hatch, a balanced budget amendment
July 16th, 2011
09:53 AM ET
12 years ago

President Obama advocates a balanced approach, Sen. Hatch, a balanced budget amendment

(CNN)-President Barack Obama and Sen. Orrin Hatch rallied for balance during the weekly addresses Saturday, but differed on the types of balance necessary.

As Obama advocated for a balanced approach to resolve the deficit, Hatch urged the need for a balanced budget amendment.

“For a decade, America has been spending more money than we’ve taken in” while the national debt continued to rise, Obama said. “Neither party in this town is blameless.”

And he criticized elected officials for being “more concerned with playing politics and serving special interests than resolving real problems.”

Acknowledging a “responsibility and an opportunity” to reduce the deficit as much as possible, Obama argued for a “balanced approach, shared sacrifice, and a willingness to make unpopular choices” to form an agreement on the debt ceiling and deficit reduction.

The president met daily with leaders of both parties to hammer out a deal that will raise the amount of money the federal government can borrow before the nation’s debt exceeds the current allowed limit. The debt ceiling deadline is August 2.

A central issue of the struggle between parties is whether a deal to raise the debt ceiling should include solutions to resolve the deficit, and what those solutions will be. President Obama and fellow Democrats support a plan that will include both spending cuts and tax revenues while Republicans decry any strategy that involves an increase of taxes but favor entitlement reform.

Obama listed “shared sacrifices” he envisions as part of a “balanced approach”: reduced spending on domestic and defense programs, Medicare reform, and revising the tax code to remove tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans. Realizing some compromises “don’t make folks in my party too happy,” the president reasoned that he “wouldn’t agree to some of these cuts if we were in a better fiscal situation.”

“We’re not,” he said.

“The truth is, you can’t solve our deficit without cutting spending. But you can’t solve it without asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share,” Obama stated.

“If we’re going to ask seniors, or students, or middle-class Americans to sacrifice, then we have to ask corporations and the wealthiest Americans to share in that sacrifice,” he continued.

Recalling other differences that were historically difficult to breach, the president spoke of successful agreements between former GOP President Ronald Reagan, Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill and Democrats as well as Former President Bill Clinton, GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Republicans.

Using their examples as a model, the president vowed, “You expect us to get this right…and that’s what I’m committed to doing.”

But Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch said he wants to stop future deficit disasters before they start, and argued for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution in the GOP weekly address.

He described debt negotiations as “one of the most critical debates in generations” that are focused on “the size, scope, and shape of our national government.”

Hatch slammed Democrats for a refusal to develop a “legitimate plan to confront our runaway spending” that contributed to the nation’s debt and lashed out at the president whom he accused of refusing to “reform our near bankrupt entitlement programs” while “pushing job-killing tax hikes.”

The six-term-senator had a different memory of the deal brokered between Clinton and House Republicans.

“We’ve been down this road before,” he said. “In 1990 Congress and the president struck a deficit reduction deal that combined spending cuts with tax increases. Unfortunately, while the tax hikes remained, the spending restraint did not, and our debt has marched higher.”

In an effort to learn from past mistakes, Hatch resolved, “the solution to a spending crisis is not tax increases” and proposed passing a balanced budget amendment as a long-term solution for “restoring constitutional restraints on the ability of Congress to spend” and restrict the growth of federal government.

Hatch, who serves as ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, looked to the states as models to follow, while blasting the Obama administration for dismissing the potential solution.

“The Constitution belongs to the people, who determine what is a constitutional issue – not the White House,” Hatch stated. “If the debt isn’t a ‘constitutional issue,’ why is it that every state in the union but Vermont has a constitutional balanced budget requirement?”

“A balanced budget amendment makes sense,” Hatch declared. “It’s time has more than come.”

Filed under: Debt • Deficit • GOP weekly address • Orrin Hatch • President Obama
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. GI Joe


    For a "PARTY" that claims to love the constitution so much (the parts that they find appropriate to their propaganda), they sure do want to change it a lot.

    Quit trying to dictate to U.S. Citizens and our governing bodies IN THE FUTURE ( who MAY have more sense than the ignorant tea-baggers ).

    July 16, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  2. GI Joe

    The US Constitution should NOT be amended to accommodate the wish or amendments of each state. What a mess. States have their laws. They complain that the US wants to take control of states, yet they want the US to dictate this to everyone. WHICH IS IT??

    July 16, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  3. Donkey Party

    The GOP is infinitely worse than Al Queda or the Taliban, mainly for two reasons. One, the GOP is responsible for many more American deaths than the two terrorist organizations combined, and second, they're already here on our soil.

    July 16, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  4. American

    President Obama speaks in reasonable terms of shared responsibility from all Americans to unify in dealing collectively with our fiscal discipline.

    Contrast that with Sen. Hatch same ol' divisively empty rhetoric to protect the wealthiest while middle class Americans continue to absorb the costs. It's not right.

    Hatch also voted against a deficit reduction commission and knows darn well that budgets cannot be balanced without a combination of spending cuts AND revenues. Credibility please.

    July 16, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  5. Randy, San Francisco

    Our country wouldn't be in this crisis if the GOP did not allow itself to be taken hostage by the Tea Party. If the economy is hurt by GOP/Tea Party refusal to compromise, voters will punish them on election day. The GOP should not pass up on the opportunity to make major reform changes to the tax system and entitlement programs by simply agreeing to compromises with the Democrats.

    July 16, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  6. steven harnack

    More of the tea-bagger "pledge" approach. Feels good until you think of all of the possible contingencies. Does it overrule the law of unintended results? No.

    July 16, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. vic , nashville ,tn

    President is wasting his time talking to republicans

    Republicans believe Obama’s stimulus failed their subsidies is working
    Stimulus = subsidies = taxpayer money

    Some republicans thoughts
    Obama’s auto bail out failed why auto industries start to hire again
    Republicans subsidies are working oil companies are making good profit
    Government should stay away from the business but government must subsidies Oil companies
    Republicans vs Job creation
    1992 Jan unemployment rate 7.3 %senior Bush left the office Bill Clinton took office
    2001 Jan unemployment rate 4.2% Bill Clinton left office G.W.Bush took office
    2009 Jan unemployment rate 7.8 % G.W Bush left office Obama took office

    When Ronald reign took office unemployment rate was 7.5% 1983 June unemployment rate was 10.1% 2.6% up same period of time in Obama’s presidency unemployment rate 7.8% to 9.2% only 1.4% up

    July 16, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  8. The Obama Recession Continues Unabated, Obama Depression on the way

    It is clear that NOBODY in DC can control the spending. Money is power. The government has unlimitied access to our paycheck. The government does nothing but create more and more government entitlement programs that are ill conceived and implemented which consume endless amounts of OUR money.

    Without a balanced budget amendment, there will NEVER be any limits on what the government can take and spend (resdistribute the wealth in many cases). Without a balanced budget amendment this country is doomed to default and fail because the trend of spending our way to bankruptcy with not be stopped. ONLY THE PEOPLE CAN SAVE THIS COUNTRY and that MUST be with a balanced budget amendment.

    July 16, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  9. Ed

    Stop playing the blame game and get to a law where it's required to have a balanced budget.

    Do you not think we are tired of blaming each other make it law to have a balanced budget and term limits.

    You have not been much of a leader more of a person trying to place blame and not getting the job done.

    Stop spending what we don't have, stop paying voters people who don't know how to stop having babies, get rid of the current welfare system, we want smaller government, face the fact that your health care bill will do nothing but create more debt, and you seem to have left out some states, union workers, the congress and senate will not have to abide by your health care bill.

    I challange you to take time to read the bill that passed and you will see it's nothing but junk.

    If I spent more than I have I would be in jail and/or homeless.

    I don't know if anyone up there listens to us stop spending more than we have, have term limits, no retirement perks for elected people, have a balanced budget law, if you pass a law it applies to everyone including our Senate, Corgress, any and all elected officials get the job done.

    July 16, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  10. The Obama Recession Continues Unabated, Obama Depression on the way

    President Obama speaks in reasonable terms of shared responsibility from all Americans to unify in dealing collectively with our fiscal discipline.
    You're joking right??!!! The tax load in this country are NOT shared by "all Americans". Almost half the people in this country PAY NO FEDERAL INCOME TAX. MANY of those actually get money they didn't pay in, aka federal welfare. A smaller and smaller number of Americans are shouldering more and more of the tax burden (you know, all those nasty "rich" people", aka people who work).

    Obama and the Democrats continue to lie to the country concerning the state of our tax system. It is ANYTHING but fair or inclusive of all people.

    July 16, 2011 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  11. The Elephant in The Room

    Senator Hatch has been in Congress for over 30 years. If there is a problem with spending, with deficit, with the National Debt, he has been complicit in causing the problem. The National Debt was barely $1 Tillion 30 years ago. Look at it today. If Repubicans were so fiscally conservative then [ as they claimed] America would be a net creditor instead of a debtor. America. don`t buy the regurgitated lies of the GOP.

    This not the 1st tie the Balanced Budget Ammendment has been trotted out for political theatre. It would require 75% approval in the House & Senate, can that happen in the type of hyper partisan environment the GOPTP has fostered? No, it can`t. Even if it could, it won`t pass the states.

    Past BBA efforts have been undermined by Republicans that wanted an exclusion for their political dedication to Defense Spending. Sure, they`ll try to "spin" the wording to address a need to wage war and defend the homeland but the practical intent is to give them an out when they wanted it.

    Any change to the Constitution needs to be able to stand the test of time – otherwise it will cheapen the value of this historic document.

    July 16, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  12. cindy

    All this party has intentions of doing is to make President Obama a one term President and punish the American people for having the audacity to vote for him. Come 2012 I will be audacious again You can deny race doesn't enter in this equation but the predjudice is so heavy one could cut it with a knife. shame it can't be severed and thrown in the trash with all the other garbage I have seen from the party of NO.

    July 16, 2011 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  13. The Obama Recession Continues Unabated, Obama Depression on the way

    This not the 1st tie the Balanced Budget Ammendment has been trotted out for political theatre. It would require 75% approval in the House & Senate, can that happen in the type of hyper partisan environment the GOPTP has fostered? No, it can`t. Even if it could, it won`t pass the states.
    WRONG. Don't know the Constitution do you? It requires TWO THIRDS approval by the House and Senate. This will be entirely possible once Republicans sweep more Democrats outr of the House and Senate in 2012. The American want fiscal responsibliity and this is the ONLY way it will happen.

    75% of the states need to approve it. Given the financial forecast for this country, it would EASILY pass.

    July 16, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  14. Peter s

    How about linking congressional salaries to the size of the budget deficit which will help to provide the most direct incentive to control budgets?. In fact does it make sense to give politicians one vote to increase the deficit and another to say, essentially, 'and we meant it" sanguinely, we can argue that, the debt ceiling vote discourages borrowing. However, cynically I can state that, the debt ceiling vote encourages grandstanding. We should stop using the debt ceiling as a favorite vehicle for legislation that law makers wish to force to congress attention. Believe me, shutting the government down is politically dangerous!!

    July 16, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |