WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08), one of only a handful of Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) in Congress, voted Thursday on legislation he co-sponsored providing for a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution. The measure, which needed the support of two-thirds of the House, failed by a vote of 233 - 184

The legislation (H.J.Res. 2), cosponsored by Fitzpatrick, would have required that Congress not spend more than it receives in revenue, except in instances of military conflict or national security circumstances. In addition, the measure mandates a true majority in both the House and the Senate to pass tax increases and a three-fifths supermajority to raise the debt limit.

Speaking on the House floor in favor of the measure, Fitzpatrick said:

“On my first day serving in this Congress I introduced a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, and I’m honored to be co-sponsoring the bill on the floor today.
As I travel back home in my district, a question I’m repeatedly asked, is “Why doesn’t Congress manage the national budget the same way businesses manage their budget and families manage their budget? Why doesn’t Congress follow the same rules that businesses and families do: that we only spend what we generate in revenues."
It’s a good question, Mr. Speaker, which gets us to the need for a balanced budget amendment.
One would think that we would not need to amend the Constitution to do what members of this body should be doing anyway. This is common sense, Mr. Speaker - but for decades we’ve seen this problem perpetuate because of both parties. I’m convinced that this is the only mechanism to force this body to balance the budget. $21 trillion in debt, Mr. Speaker.
To my friends voicing opposition: we need to be honest about what this bill does. This bill does not necessitate any cuts of any kind. It simply requires that the budget balance. A commitment to raising revenues through pro-growth economic policies is the answer, and that’s what this bill will force this body to do.
Mr. Speaker, prior to this Congress, our economy was sluggishly growing at around 1.6% growth in GDP, which is fiscally and financially unsustainable. We are now well over 2% and on our way to 3%. And we need to get to 4%.
As one of only a handful of CPA’s in Congress, I know that economic growth has three essential components: tax reform, regulatory reform, and a balanced budget. When you balance the books, you create jobs, which leads to more revenue, which leads to an expanding economy, making it easier for us to fund our critical priorities like serving our veterans, protecting our troops, funding public education, and preserving our environment.
Mr. Speaker, THAT is what this bill is about. And that’s why I’m a proud co-sponsor of this legislation. This bill is common sense, Mr. Speaker. The American people support this by overwhelming margins - we need to get this done for them. It is our moral responsibility.”

A balanced budget amendment was part of Fitzpatrick’s ‘Real Reform’ package introduced on his first day in Congress. The legislative proposal also included:

  • A Constitutional Amendment (H.J.Res. 7) enacting term limits for all members of Congress;
  • A Constitutional Amendment (H.J.res. 9) preventing members of Congress from being paid unless a budget is passed.  This is not just withholding pay for a little while, this is complete forfeiture; 
  • The Citizen Legislature Anti-Corruption Reform [CLEAN] Act (H.R. 145) that includes language to:
    • End Congressional “pensions for life” and directs members toward standard 401K retirement savings accounts
    • Require this body to debate and act on single-issue legislation
    • Codify that all laws passed by Congress apply to its members
    • Reform the broken “Gerrymandering” process by moving all redistricting to independent, non-partisan citizen commissions, and
    • Expand access to political party primaries to include both Independents and non-affiliated voters