Alexander Pushes to Stop President’s “Runaway Debt”

Offers Budget Amendment to Rein in Borrowing

Posted on March 31, 2009

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) offered an amendment to the Senate version of President Obama’s budget that would require a 60-vote threshold to increase public debt beyond 90 percent of GDP in any given year. “We haven’t had as much debt as the president proposes since the end of WWII when we were spending and borrowing whatever we needed because we were fighting a war,” Alexander said. “This amendment would force the Senate to find 60 votes for a budget resolution if a budget called for a total public debt beyond 90 percent of the gross domestic product in any given year.” The Alexander amendment would raise a point of order against any budget resolution that estimates a gross federal debt exceeding 90 percent of GDP in any year covered in the budget. The point of order could only be waived by a 60 vote majority of the Senate. According to estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, President Obama’s budget begins its first year with a total debt of more than 95 percent of GDP and grows the debt to over 100 percent of GDP in 2017. “We used to make fun of France and Europe, saying that if we’re not careful, one day we’ll be like them. But the Democrats seem determined to outdo them, allowing a debt level that would disqualify us for membership in the European Union,” Alexander continued. “All of these budget numbers are too high. The president’s number for total public debt goes up to 120 percent by the end of the 10th year.”