The House is voting Thursday on a Constitutional amendment that would require the government to balance the budget every year and not spend more than it takes in. It's unlikely to become law, but Republicans are pushing for it after passing a $1.5 trillion tax overhaul last year and a $1.3 trillion spending bill in March.
A new report from the Congressional Budget Office predicts the federal deficit will balloon past $1 trillion in the next two years.
"It's a pretty high hurdle, so you can keep your fingers crossed," Brat says of the likelihood of the amendment passing. "But I think it's valuable just to put us all on record on a vote to see who's putting their voting card in for fiscal responsibility."
Editor's Note: This post's transcript has been edited to reflect the segment that aired.
On if the amendment could actually help close the deficit
"Well, we just got done blowing a hole in the budget, so whether it's a fig leaf or not, we don't have a good track record, right? So it kind of started, we did the tax cuts for $150 billion a year, and if we grow at 3 percent, those are paid for, right? And then at the end of the year, we had to — in order to get Democrats and Republicans on the same page — you had to increase government spending by $400 billion.
"And so I think this is a statement that, 'Hey, we're heading in the wrong direction big time.' And both parties need to get together behind closed doors right? Because it's all political, and we've got to work on this for the sake of the kids."
"I think this is a statement that, 'Hey, we're heading in the wrong direction big time.' "GOP Rep. David Brat on the balanced budget amendment
On if the amendment would result in drastic cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid
"Not if we get serious about those programs, right? I mean they were set up 40, 50 years ago when the average death age was 65. And so, you know, we've had meetings with the comptroller of Virginia and the U.S., whatever, and so we have to reform those systems or the kids aren't going to get anything at all. So we need to get behind political doors, right? Everyone's going to run negative ads against each other in political season — that's never helpful on entitlements and mandatory spending — and so if people want to get serious, now's the time.
"If the average death age used to be 65 when these programs were set up to be actuarially sound, and now the average death age is 83, right? So people start getting the benefits at 62 or 65 and lived to be 83, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see why they're bankrupt. And so both sides need to come to the table and say, 'We better fix this or the kids get nothing, right?' "
On if he would support raising the eligibility age for entitlements
"The Democrats have to decide to quit running negative ads against Paul Ryan and anyone that proposes solutions to extend the life of these programs."
"When Paul Ryan has put that down on paper, the Democrats run ads of him pushing grandma off a cliff."
"Either the tax rates would have to go through the roof or else the ages have to change or some combination of 'em."
This article was originally published on April 12, 2018.
This segment aired on April 12, 2018.