Lee, GOP Senators Push for Balanced Budget Amendment

Jun 29, 2011

Today, the Senate Republican Caucus began a coordinated effort to push for passage of the S. J. Res 10, the Hatch Lee Balanced Budget Amendment. Senator Mike Lee, a lead cosponsor of the bill, has consistently championed the need for binding, structural spending reforms like a constitutional amendment, even before joining the Senate. The bill would force Congress to balance its budget each year, limit spending to no more than 18% of GDP, and require a supermajority vote in both the House and Senate before raising taxes or increasing the nation’s debt ceiling.

Lee, Romney Talk Economy

Jun 29, 2011

“I appreciate Governor Romney taking the time to meet with me today,” said Sen. Lee. “I expressed my view that we are currently dealing with the critical fiscal issues of this generation and that we need strong leadership on these issues. I was happy to hear that Gov. Romney supports the Cut, Cap and Balance Pledge including a Balanced Budget Amendment—one of my top priorities—and that his focus remains on growing the economy to create good jobs for our country.”

Spending Caps Act -- Day Lee Briefing 6/28/2011

Jun 28, 2011

Today’s Agenda

Senator Lee attends a Froeign Relations Committee hearing on Libya and hosts his weekly press conference with Utah press.

 

From the Senator’s Desk

Senator Lee is an original cosponsor of Senator Toomey’s “Spending Caps Act” (S Con Res 21):

  • Overview & Highlights
  • Federal outlays are divided into six categories, each with its own spending cap
    • Non-defense discretionary
    • Defense
    • Social Security
    • Medicare
    • Mandatory veterans
    • “Other” mandatory spending
    • Caps are set at the levels contained in Sen. Toomey’s fiscal year 2012 budget resolution (S. Con. Res. 21)
    • Received near-unanimous Republican support in the Senate on May 25, 2011.
    • Requires a two-thirds vote to waive the annual caps for any reason
    • Separate sequestrations automatically reduce spending in each category if caps are exceeded

 

 

Recent Votes

On the nomination of James Michael Cole, of the District of Columbia, to be Deputy Attorney General, Senator Lee voted NAY

 

Around the Water Cooler

Spending: “Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a report Monday night detailing what they say is nearly $100 million in “foreign handouts” to countries like China, Thailand and Indonesia to support various environmental programs over the last decade.”

Tax Hike: “What the president wants is some kind of a tax increase so that he can keep his political base hushed up and get the debt hike passed quickly.”

 

A Look Ahead

Senator Lee meets with the Utah Association of Secondary School Principals on Wednesday morning and will speak on the floor regarding the Balanced Budget Amendment.  The Senator’s weekly Jell-O open house for constituents is tomorrow afternoon, as well.

 

DeMint, Lee, Paul Offer Bill to Begin Restoring Sound Money

Jun 28, 2011

Today, U.S. Senators Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) introduced the Sound Money Promotion Act, legislation that would remove the tax burden on gold and silver coins that have been declared legal tender by the federal government or state governments. On May 9, the State of Utah became the first state to recognize such gold and silver coins as legal tender for use within the state, and similar legislation has been introduced in 12 other states, including South Carolina.

Raising Taxes is Off the Table - Floor Speech 6/27/2011

Jun 27, 2011

Senator Lee announces from the Senate Floor that tax increases are not a solution to our debt crisis. He reiterates the need to cut spending, cap spending, and pass a balanced budget amendment out of Congress.

Making it Worse -- Day Lee Briefing 6/27/2011

Jun 27, 2011

Today’s Agenda

Senator Lee meets with staff to discuss upcoming issues, including the budget and the ongoing conflict in Libya.  He also has several media interviews, including PJTV, Politico, and Fox News. 

From the Senator’s Desk

“Two years after the official end of the Great Recession, and one year after the Obama Administration declared “Mission: Accomplished” on the economy by celebrating the dawn of “Recovery Summer,” the United States economy remains in dire straits.  And on closer inspection, the situation is even worse than the headlines suggest…What the president himself calls “Obama’s economy” and Rep. Wasserman Schultz says her party “owns” is, in fact, the worst economic recovery the American people have suffered through in a lifetime.

 

Highlights:

Since the start of the recession, total employment has declined 5.0%; the labor force has shrunk by 2.0 percentage points; and long-term unemployment is at 45.1%.

GDP growth (only 1.8% in the 1st quarter of 2011) has failed to keep pace with that of past recoveries.

Consumer spending, personal income, and consumer credit have all lagged significantly behind past recoveries.

The housing market remains depressed.  Home prices are down 17.2% from the start of the recession, compared to an average price increase of 22.9% in past recoveries

Read More

 

Around the Water Cooler

Ethanol: “By cutting the ethanol break, senators have done more than many might have expected to show they are serious.”

Debt: “[B]y 2021, if nothing is done, we will owe more in debt than the size of our entire economy.  The figures get worse.”

The Week Ahead: “The debt talks move to the next level this week when President Obama and Vice President Biden host the Senate leaders for separate meetings on the matter.”

 

A Look Ahead

Tomorrow, the Foreign Relations Committee will discuss the legality of the President’s actions with regards to Libya.  The committee is expected to take a look at a resolution sponsored by Sens. Kerry and McCain that would authorize the operation for up to one year. 

Cut, Cap, and Balance

Jun 27, 2011

It's been called the most preventable disaster in American history. The coming debt crisis is so predictable it's difficult to find a single economist, expert, politician or American taxpayer who doesn't warn of the consequences of spending and borrowing ourselves into oblivion.

Cut, Cap, Balance in a time of sluggish growth | Day Lee Briefing -- 6/24/2011

Jun 24, 2011

Today’s Agenda

Senator Lee continues to work on promoting the Cut, Cap, Balance plan in Congress – a deal that would allow a vote on increasing the debt limit only after Congress has agreed to significantly cut the deficit, cap spending, and pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. 

 

From the Senator’s Desk

Higher debt leads to slower economic growth. Empirical studies show that high levels of government debt inhibit economic growth by creating uncertainty, displacing needed private investment, and placing upward pressure on interest rates. For example, Reinhart and Rogoff found that, in advanced economies with gross government debt above 90 percent of GDP, median economic growth tends to be between one and two percent lower (depending on the time period analyzed) when compared to countries with lower debt-to-GDP ratios…

“Slower economic growth results in dramatic job loss. Christina Romer, former chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, equated one percentage point of GDP with one million jobs.

“Successful debt-reduction measures relying on spending cuts—not tax increases—have consistently resulted in stronger economic growth. Research from Harvard economist Alberto Alesina, as well as a Goldman Sachs report, found that fiscal consolidations that focused on cutting government spending—including on subsidies, transfer payments, and government worker pensions—were successful in cutting fiscal imbalances, typically boosted growth, and were followed by improved equity and bond market performance. Examples of successful spending reductions include Canada and New Zealand in the early 1990s…

“Yet the nation has operated without a budget plan for more than 780 days. The Democrat-led Senate has not even allowed the Budget Committee to meet this year to begin work on a resolution, and has refused to pass a budget at all since April 29, 2009. Over that time, the nation has spent $7.1 trillion and added $3.2 trillion in gross federal debt. Majority Leader Harry Reid recently said it would be “foolish” for Democrats to produce a budget. But nothing could be more foolish than refusing to provide the nation’s job creators, investors, and taxpayers with a blueprint for our fiscal future.”  --  Memo to Senator Lee from the Senate Budget Committee

 

Recent Votes

On Senator Vitter’s amendment to end the appointments of presidential Czars who have not been subject to the advice and consent of the Senate and to prohibit funds for any salaries and expenses for appointed Czars, Senator Lee voted YEA.

See more votes

 

Around the Water Cooler

Libya: “The House is expected Friday to vote to strip funding for offensive military operations in Libya, leaving only money for U.S. forces carrying out support activities for the NATO-led mission such as aircraft refueling, intelligence-gathering and reconnaissance.”

Cut, Cap, Balance: “Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) warned lawmakers they won't be reelected if they vote for a debt ceiling increase without a balanced budget amendment and serious across-the-board spending cuts.

 

A Look Ahead

Senator Lee has an interview with PJTV’s Tony Katz on Monday about the budget debate in the Senate, and meets with two Utah education groups on Tuesday and Wednesday.  The Senate is expected to continue work on the Economic Development Agency Reauthorization Bill.   

Day Lee Briefing -- 6/23/2011

Jun 23, 2011

Today’s Agenda

Today, Senator Lee attends a Foreign Relations Committee meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  In the morning he meets with Utah members of United We Dream and a group focused on finding employment for people with disabilities.  He also has interviews with Fox’s Neil Cavuto and CNBC’s Larry Kudlow. 

 

From the Senator’s Desk

“I recently signed a letter calling for the President to honor the pledge he made to begin the drawdown of forces in Afghanistan in July.  I am encouraged the President has followed through on that pledge. The progress that has been made justifies a reduction in the number of troops engaged in intensive combat operations. However, success in Afghanistan remains in our national security interest and it is critical the pace of withdrawal not conflict with our capacity to eliminate any new terrorist threats.  “  -- Blog post responding to President Obama’s recent announcement

 

Around the Water Cooler

Afghanistan: “We are encouraged that the overall military strategy will continue to be one of forceful counter-insurgency.”

Debt Limit: “Lawmakers are expressing frustration with the lack of information they have received from Vice President Biden’s debt-limit negotiations.”

Deficit: “Utah politicians sign Cut, Cap and Balance Pledge”

 

A Look Ahead

Senator Lee meets with two Utah based educational groups next week. The Foreign Relations Committee will meet to discuss the ongoing conflict in Libya on Tuesday, and Senator Lee will participate in a national blogger press conference on the Cut, Cap, and Balance Plan that afternoon. 

President's SPR Release a Shrewd Political Move

Jun 23, 2011

Today, the President announced he was ordering the release of 30 million barrels of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Having spent the better part of his administration preventing the development of America's oil and natural gas resources and increasing costs for our domestic energy companies, this announcement can only be viewed as a shrewd political move by the President.