In the Weekly Republican Address, Maine Senator Olympia Snowe explains why a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution is needed.

The text of Republicans' proposed balanced budget amendment can be found here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/52020805/GOP-Balanced-Budget-Amendment-Text

Sen. Snowe says, "In the coming days, the United States Senate will have a long overdue debate and vote on a constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget. And let there be no mistake, we have no greater duty than to once and for all obligate the government to live within its means and spend no more than what it takes in. I have been a longtime champion of a balanced budget amendment in both the House and Senate to prevent precisely the kind of fiscal quagmire we are enmeshed in today, as our federal government borrows an astounding 40 cents of every dollar we spend."

"The fact is," she explains, "debts and deficits do matter. We have now entered what some have called an 'economic danger zone.' Our outstanding debt, which has now reached $15 trillion, has stunted economic growth, costing millions of American jobs. Just as disturbingly, the government currently pays a staggering $200 billion per year in interest to foreign countries that hold our treasury bonds...countries like China, and Russia. And that number is projected to increase to $1 trillion per year by 2021. Indeed, in the three short years since President Obama has taken office, the national debt has increased by nearly $5 trillion."

Sen. Snowe continues, "[L]et's be clear. The impending vote to amend the Constitution represents a choice between changing business as usual in Washington, or embracing the status quo that we can no longer afford. The status quo that has led to an inexcusable 950 straight days without passing a federal budget...the status quo that has brought us the first ever downgrade of America's sterling triple-A credit rating...and the status quo that was exemplified by the so-called supercommittee's inability to agree on $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years. Even the automatic cuts resulting from the supercommittee's failure to reach an agreement could all be undone by this or any future Congress -- unless we pass a balanced budget amendment like those already adopted by 49 other states, which will bind each successive Congress in perpetuity. "The bottom line is, the real reason many lawmakers don't want a balanced budget amendment is the exact reason why it's so essential. They don't want their hands tied...they want to continue to spend without restraint. Their way has been to break budgets and amass more and more debt...all the while promising Congress will one day balance the budget. Well, as we sadly know, the promises were empty, the debt is astronomical, and their way hasn't worked. Now, it's time for our way."

Concluding, Sen. Snowe asks Americans to support this balanced budget amendment, and to ask their senators to support it. "For too long, the burden has fallen to supporters of the balanced budget amendment to justify its necessity. Today, at this moment when our debt has exceeded the size of our entire economy, I ask you, the American people, to place the burden squarely where it belongs...on those who would oppose this measure. In typical Washington fashion, they're hoping you won't notice this historic vote is occurring. They are banking on you thinking it doesn't matter. Well, with the national debt at $15 trillion and rising, let me suggest there are 15 trillion reasons to prove them wrong. Fifteen trillion reasons to make a stand. Fifteen trillion reasons to contact your Senators and urge them to support our balanced budget amendment...Senate Joint Resolution 10...so that we finally seize the fiscal reins, and reclaim our future for our children and our grandchildren."

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday regarding a proposed extension to the payroll tax cut and the need to provide tax relief without raising taxes on job creators.

Thanks to Democrats' insistence on a trillion-dollar tax hike and the president's refusal to even engage in the debate, the supercommittee failed to put forward a plan on deficit reduction, even though Republicans offered a compromise plan to cut spending and reduce tax rates across the board. It's time for Democrats and the president to get serious about our nation's debt and work with Republicans to achieve real reform.

In the Weekly Republican Address, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), a member of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, discusses the importance of "restoring economic growth and bringing our deficits under control."

Sen. Toomey says, "The best way to revive the American economy is to reform our broken tax code. We should seize this opportunity to throw out this unfair monstrosity and replace it with a system that will lower tax rates for every single American, simplify the code, and get rid of the special interest tax breaks and loopholes that make this code the 70,000 page mess that it is. Our tax code has to go. Every bipartisan commission that has looked at our deficit crisis has come to the same conclusion: Pro-growth tax reform is a vital part of the solution. That's why we Republican members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction have proposed a plan that replaces our current tax code with a simpler and fairer version that will encourage small businesses to expand and hire new workers and encourage creative hardworking Americans to open new businesses. Furthermore, this reform should be permanent so that job creators across America will know they will not be subject to the biggest tax hike in American history, which is currently looming a mere 14 months away."

He points out, "Now, in addition to kick-starting our economy with tax reform, our proposal will curb the deficit by cutting spending. After all, the problem is not that Americans are under-taxed, but that our government overspends. And that's why we've proposed cutting spending by $750 billion over 10 years. Now, let me be clear. We've identified several trillion dollars in sensible, responsible spending reductions that would actually resolve our fiscal crisis. But in the face of intense Democratic opposition, we've scaled back our proposal to just $750 billion -- less than 2 percent of what our government is projected to spend over the next 10 years. Surely our Democratic colleagues can agree that a bloated federal government that has grown by about 25 percent in the last few years can tighten its belt by 2 percent over the next 10 years."

Sen. Toomey concludes, "The hour is late. By law, our work on this committee must be completed this coming week. But I remain hopeful that we can meet our goal and I urge my Democratic colleagues to join us in this effort. We have what is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pass legislation that will generate millions of jobs, create a simpler, fairer tax system with lower rates for everyone, and put our government on a path toward fiscal sanity. We don't have to follow the path that Europe has taken. We can learn from their mistakes. We can continue to be the land of unparalleled opportunity and prosperity. And the 21st century can be another great American century. The American people will make sure of that if we in Washington will just let them."