The debate on a resolution that calls on Congress to balance the federal budget turned into political name-calling on the Missouri House floor.
Rep. Chris Kelly, a Democrat from Columbia, sponsors one of the resolutions.
“Some people say this here only because it’s good politics,” Kelly said during House floor debate. Kelly, though, stated that federal spending is out of control, that there are no incentives to restrict spending in Washington and that the federal government has amassed power as it has spent irresponsibly.
Not all Democrats were as generous as Kelly. The main sponsor, Republican Allen Icet of Wildwood, had to defend the resolution against attacks by Democrat Jeff Roorda of Barnhart.
“I guess you’re trying to say this is a political statement,” Icet responded to Roorda during the debate.
“I’m absolutely saying this is a political statement,” Roorda responded.
“If you don’t think this is a serious issue, I disagree,” said Icet.
“Well, I think it’s a serious issue. I just think that the timing is suspicious,” said Roorda, asking why Republicans weren’t as concerned about the deficit during the eight years that Republican George W. Bush occupied the White House. Roorda claimed that runaway spending and an “unjust war” under Bush drastically drove up the federal deficit.
Icet responded that he didn’t agree with the spending of the Bush White House, but pointed out that the Obama Administration has nearly tripled the deficit. Roorda dismissed the criticism, insisting that Obama had to spend more to help the country emerge from a recession that he accused Bush of creating.
Debate lasted for more than an hour. Icet closed, claiming surprise at how it unfolded.
“We’ve had, I guess, a little more vigorous debate than I anticipated on what I think would be a common sense idea: to ask our federal colleagues to balance the federal budget just as we here in the state of Missouri are required by our constitution to balance the Missouri budget,” Icet said in his closing statement.
HCS HCR 34&35 urges Congress to submit a proposed balanced budget amendment to the US Constitution to the states for ratification. An amendment was adopted to clarify that the resolution wasn’t a call for a constitutional convention. In the end, the resolution passed 121-to-28 with two voting “present”. It now moves to the Senate.