House Joint Resolution No. 26

Introduced By curtiss, ellis, brainard, denny, grinde, hayne, beaudry, bitney, stovall, mills, orr, ohs, mood, debruycker, bankhead, bohlinger, rehbein, mcgee

By Request of the House State-Federal Relations Committee

A Joint Resolution of the Senate and the House of Representatives of the state of Montana urging Congress to submit to the states for ratification a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution.

WHEREAS, with each passing year this nation becomes deeper in debt as federal government expenditures repeatedly exceed available revenue, so that the federal public debt is now approximately $4.9 trillion, or $19,000 for each man, woman, and child; and

WHEREAS, the annual federal budget has not been balanced since 1969, demonstrating an unwillingness or inability of both the Legislative and Executive branches of federal government; and

WHEREAS, knowledgeable planning, fiscal prudence, and plain good sense require that the federal budget should not be manipulated to present the appearance of being in balance while, in fact, federal indebtedness continues to grow; and

WHEREAS, believing that fiscal irresponsibility at the federal level, resulting in a lower standard of living and endangering economic opportunity now and for the next generation, is the greatest threat that faces our nation; and

WHEREAS, Thomas Jefferson recognized the importance of a balanced budget when he wrote, "The question whether one generation has the right to bind another by the deficit it imposes is a question of such consequence as to place it among the fundamental principles of government. We should consider ourselves unauthorized to saddle posterity with our debts, and morally bound to pay them ourselves"; and

WHEREAS, the principal functions of the United States Constitution include promoting the broadest principles of a government of, by, and for the people; setting forth the most fundamental responsibilities of government; and enumerating and limiting the powers of the government to protect the basic rights of the people; and

WHEREAS, the federal government's unlimited ability to borrow involves decisions of such magnitude, with such potentially profound consequences for the nation and its people, today and in the future, that it is an appropriate subject for limitation by the United States Constitution; and

WHEREAS, the United States Constitution vests the ultimate responsibility to approve or disapprove of amendments to the United States Constitution with the people of the several states, as represented by their elected legislatures; and

WHEREAS, opposition by a small minority within Congress and, on occasion, by the President has repeatedly thwarted the will of the people of the United States that a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution should be submitted to the states for ratification while large majorities of both houses of Congress already have prepared, considered, and voted for an amendment.


That the Legislature of the State of Montana requests the members of the Congress of the United States to expeditiously pass, and to propose to the legislatures of the several states for ratification, an amendment to the United States Constitution requiring, in the absence of a national emergency, that the total of all federal appropriations made by the Congress for any fiscal year not exceed the total of all estimated federal revenue for that fiscal year; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the legislatures of each of the several states comprising the United States be urged to apply to the Congress requesting the proposal for ratification of a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Secretary of State send copies of this resolution to the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the members of Montana's Congressional delegation, and the presiding officers of each house of the legislatures of each of the other states.