The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

October 8, 2013

Barletta: Balanced federal budget should be Constitutional requirement

The Daily Item

— WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-11, today called for a Constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget as a trade-off for raising the nation’s debt limit as requested by the President.

Barletta, show congressional district includes all of Montour County and a large portion of Northumberland County, made the proposal this morning during a meeting of the House of Representatives Republican Conference.

He also indicated that he favored a repeal of the medical device tax in Obamacare as part of a funding solution to reopen the federal government.

“This is a country that spends $1 trillion more each year than it takes in,” Barletta said.  “If we’re talking about raising our credit limit, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that we require our government to balance its checkbook.”

With regard to the current government shutdown, Barletta voted for multiple continuing resolutions (CRs) that repealed, defunded or delayed all or parts of the national healthcare law, but each was rejected by the Senate.

While Barletta once expressed openness to a no-strings-attached CR, a growing number of Democrats have emerged who would support a CR that also repealed the medical device tax.  Barletta said he is now pursuing that strategy.

“I’m a former mayor, so I’m looking for solutions to problems,” Barletta said. “Sometimes being in Congress means practicing the art of the possible. We can keep the government open and dismantle a major funding source of Obamacare,” Barletta said.

“We’ll get rid of an Obamacare tax that kills jobs, raises costs of important medical equipment, and best of all can pass the House and Senate.”

It has looked increasingly like the government funding debate and the looming debt ceiling deadline of Oct. 17 will merge into one larger negotiation. Barletta pledged to work hard on bringing people to an agreement.

“We all want to reopen the government and we all want America to pay what it owes,” Barletta said. “There is support for repealing the medical device tax, just as there is support for the various forms of a Balanced Budget Amendment. To me, those are two good ideas to talk about moving forward into our negotiations.”