(Senate - February 27, 1997)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

[Pages S1689-S1697]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will report the pending 
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       A joint resolution (S.J. Res. 1) proposing an amendment to 
     the Constitution of the United States to require a balanced 

  The Senate resumed consideration of the joint resolution.
       Hollings-Specter-Bryan amendment No. 9, to add a provision 
     proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United 
     States relating to contributions and expenditures intended to 
     affect elections.
       Leahy (for Kennedy) amendment No. 10, to provide that only 
     Congress shall have authority to enforce the provisions of 
     the balanced budget constitutional amendment, unless Congress 
     passes legislation specifically granting enforcement 
     authority to the President or State or Federal courts.
       Graham-Robb amendment No. 7, to strike the limitation on 
     debt held by the public.

[[Page S1690]]

       Bumpers motion to refer the joint resolution to the 
     Committee on the Budget with instructions to report back 
     forthwith with Bumpers-Feingold amendment No. 12, in the 
     nature of a substitute.
       Feingold amendment No. 13, to require approval of the 
     amendment to the Constitution within 3 years after the date 
     of its submission to the States for ratification.
       Feingold amendment No. 14, to permit the use of an 
     accumulated surplus to balance the budget during any fiscal 
       Conrad (for Rockefeller) amendment No. 18, to establish 
     that Medicare outlays shall not be reduced in excess of the 
     amount necessary to preserve the solvency of the Medicare 
     Health Insurance Trust Fund.

                            Amendment No. 7

  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Hutchinson). The clerk will report the 
pending amendment.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       An amendment (No. 7), previously proposed by the Senator 
     from Florida [Mr. Graham] for himself and Mr. Robb:
       On page 2, line 17, strike ``held by the public''.

  Mr. GRAHAM addressed the Chair.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. On this amendment, there are 90 minutes 
equally divided. The Senator from Florida.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, I am an original cosponsor of the balanced 
budget amendment. I support the amendment. It is an important measure, 
both to maintain the momentum toward a balanced budget and to assure 
that, once we have reached a point of balance, we will stay there. For 
far too long, our Nation has been living on borrowed money, the credit 
cards of our children and our grandchildren. Our children and 
grandchildren deserve better. They deserve to inherit a nation whose 
fiscal house is in order.
  Today, every child in America is saddled with a debt at birth of more 
than $20,000. That debt is growing. I believe strongly that the long-
term economic future of our country is in jeopardy. It is in jeopardy 
unless we are able to arrest this mountain of annual deficits and the 
cumulative national debt. Arresting this increase is the only way to 
assure fiscal restraint over the future decades.
  This administration deserves a great deal of credit. When President 
Clinton came into office, he was faced with the largest annual deficit 
in the history of America, $290 billion. Over the past 4 years, that 
deficit has been reduced to $107 billion--a very significant 
accomplishment. However, a balanced budget amendment to the 
Constitution can guarantee that future Presidents and future Congresses 
cannot repeat the mistakes of recent history. We cannot do as we have 
done in the last 20 years, add $4.5 trillion to our national debt.
  I believe, therefore, that in its current form, the balanced budget 
amendment is clearly superior to the alternative, which is the status 
quo that has served us so poorly over the last two decades.
  That said, I want to point out that the balanced budget amendment as 
it is currently written is, in my judgment, flawed. Section 2 of the 
balanced budget amendment--and I ask my colleagues who are here today, 
and those who might be watching on television, if they would take this 
opportunity to read section 2--section 2 purports to control the limit 
on debt held by the public. But I believe that the complex policy 
implications of this section make it one of the least understood 
provisions of this constitutional amendment. Without a doubt, section 2 
is the key to ensuring the enforcement of the balanced budget 
amendment. It has been referred to as the safety lock of the balanced 
budget amendment. But it simply does not go far enough to control the 
growth of the Federal debt, and it denies us some important policy 
objectives which could be accomplished by the adoption of the amendment 
which I offer.
  I would like to first read the precise language of section 2. Section 
2 states:

       The limit of debt held by the public shall not be increased 
     unless three-fifths of the whole number of each House shall 
     provide by law for such an increase by a rollcall vote.

  That is, verbatim, the language of section 2. My amendment would 
strike four words from section 2. Those words are ``held by the 
public,'' therefore, leaving the amendment as originally written except 
``the limit of debt shall not be increased unless three-fifths of the 
whole number.
  These four words constitute less than a sentence within the balanced 
budget amendment. They carry with them a number of important policy 
  Under the proposed amendment, three-fifths of the whole number of 
each House would be needed to raise the debt ceiling as it relates 
only--and I emphasize only--to that debt held by the public, not to the 
total Federal debt.
  This provision will assist in enforcing the balanced budget amendment 
by creating a voting requirement of 40 percent plus 1 to increase the 
debt. Simply that 41 Senators will refuse to go along with the proposal 
to raise the debt held by the public should serve as a powerful 
enforcement mechanism, but it does not go far enough to halt the growth 
of the Federal debt.
  Mr. President, let me provide a little background regarding the 
distinction between debt held by the public, the language that is 
currently in section 2, and the total national debt, which would be the 
application of section 2 if my amendment were adopted.
  The total national debt, sometimes referred to as debt subject to 
limit, is divided into two categories: debt held by the public and debt 
that the Government owes itself.
  On this chart, the blue section is that portion of our national debt 
which is held by the public. Today, it is approximately $3.9 trillion. 
Debt held by the public is that debt which is issued to individuals, 
corporations, State or local government, the Federal Reserve System, 
foreign governments, and central banks. All of that constitutes debt 
held by the public which today represents $3.9 trillion.
  Debt the Government owes to itself is the total of all trust fund 
surpluses, including those of Social Security, Medicare, and Federal 
retirement programs. Under current law, surpluses in these trust funds 
must be invested in Federal Government securities. Social Security is 
the largest of these, currently accounting for $638 billion of trust 
fund balances.
  Mr. President, the red component of this chart represents the amount 
of the total Federal debt which is owed to the Social Security trust 
fund. Today, it is $638 billion. The green represents the borrowing of 
the Federal Government from all other Federal trust funds. That number 
has been, over time, approximately $900 billion. And I have depicted it 
on this chart, for purposes of display, as a consistent $900 billion.
  The total of the Federal Government debt that is not held by the 
public--that is, that debt which would not be subject to constraint 
under this amendment--is currently $1.6 trillion.
  The Congressional Budget Office projects that the total Federal debt, 
all debt owed by the Federal Government, will be $5.4 trillion at the 
end of this fiscal year.
  I am not surprised that there is some confusion about this arcane 
subject of the allocation of the total Federal debt among various 
categories. That confusion has permeated the committee that reported 
this bill, it has permeated Members of the executive branch and the 
media. Let me just cite some examples of that misunderstanding.
  Mr. President, on our desks, each Senator has a copy of the report of 
the Judiciary Committee when it recommended favorably the adoption of 
the balanced budget amendment. Let me quote from the committee report 
on page 20. It states:

       To run a deficit, the Federal Government must borrow funds 
     to cover its obligations. Section 2 removes the borrowing 
     power from the Government, unless three-fifths of the total 
     membership of both Houses vote to raise the debt limit.

  Wrong. This statement is inaccurate, because section 2 does not limit 
the Government's ability to borrow. In fact, as this chart indicates, 
under current law and the requirement that the Federal Government 
borrow all of the surpluses that are available from these trust funds, 
by the midpoint of the second decade of the 21st century, the Federal 
Government will have an indebtedness of $8.5 trillion, and everything 
above the blue line can be encumbered by a majority vote of the 
Congress, without the protection of the three-fifths vote. This is not 
speculation, this is ordained by the laws that we have passed and the 
absence of a three-fifths vote for all of the debt above the blue line. 
The Government will borrow almost $2 trillion of additional 
indebtedness between the year 2002 and 2019.

[[Page S1691]]

  But it is not just our own Judiciary Committee that misunderstands 
the application of section 2. The Secretary of the Treasury, Robert 
Rubin, blurred the distinction in an opinion column he wrote in the 
Washington Post on February 2 of this year, where he said:

       Finally, as we saw in 1995 and 1996, the history of debt 
     limit shows that raising the statutory debt limit is never an 
     easy process. Yet, right now it is possible to raise the debt 
     limit with a simple majority vote in both Houses. By 
     requiring a three-fifths supermajority vote, the amendment 
     would make it far more difficult.

  Again, the Secretary fails to point out the distinction that the 
three-fifths vote only applies to that portion of the debt which is 
held by the public, not to that growing portion of debt which is going 
to be represented by borrowings from the surpluses of the Federal trust 
funds, especially that enormous trust fund of Social Security.
  Even more, the news media has led the American people to believe that 
this amendment will provide a safety lock on all future borrowings. The 
February 21, 1997, edition of the Washington Post, for example, 
indicated that ``a three-fifths majority of both Houses would be 
required to waive the requirement and to raise the national debt 
  Wrong. The only three-fifths requirement would be to that dwindling 
portion of the national debt which is represented by that which we 
borrow from the general public and would not apply to the indebtedness 
which we borrow, essentially, from ourselves through the Federal 
surpluses in trust funds.
  Mr. President, I believe that we should deliver to the American 
people what the American people expect. They expect an amendment that 
would provide for control on the total national debt. That is what we 
have led them to believe we are considering.
  Probably one of the most commonly used examples of our runaway 
national debt is the debt clock. It is not on the floor today, but it 
was in the Judiciary Committee on the day that I testified in favor of 
the balanced budget amendment.
  What are the numbers on that clock? The numbers on that clock are not 
the numbers that reflect debt held by the public. The numbers on that 
clock are those that are consistent with the national debt of $5.4 
trillion. That is the debt that the American people have been led by us 
to believe that we are trying to control.
  I believe that in order to avoid further adding to the skepticism and 
cynicism of the American people, we ought to give them an amendment 
which is consistent with what they believe we are providing to them 
because that is what we have told them we are trying to accomplish.
  Unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise, we should pass a 
balanced budget amendment that meets the expectations of the American 
people and places a constraint on total national debt.
  It will be to those who wish to use their portion of the time to 
oppose my amendment to explain what that compelling national interest 
is that says that we should only limit one segment of the national debt 
and should let the other balloon to an $8.5 trillion national debt 
within the lifetime of most of the people who are in this room and 
listening to this on television.
  I find no such compelling reason. I find, to the contrary, powerful 
reasons to deliver an amendment that the people expect. Not only would 
such an amendment be consistent with our representations and the 
expectations of the American people, this amendment would have some 
powerful policy benefits.
  First, it would have the effect of avoiding another massive increase 
in national debt. Adopting the amendment that I offer would say that as 
of the effective date, the year 2002, that rather than have the then 
$6.7 trillion continue to grow to $8.5 trillion, that $6.7 trillion--an 
enormous, staggering national debt as it is--at least would become the 
plateau for our national debt, that we would not allow further growth 
in our total debt without a three-fifths vote of the Congress to do so. 
I believe that would be a tremendous benefit to the American people.
  I would like to talk about some of the other policy implications that 
are involved in subjecting total national debt, as opposed to only that 
component of debt held by the public, to the three-fifths requirement.
  Applying the three-fifths restraint to debt held by the public is 
going to create an unintended consequence. That unintended consequence 
is that there will be an incentive to borrow from these trust funds 
because you can borrow from the trust funds by a majority vote. It 
takes a three-fifths vote to issue debt to the public. Therefore, the 
likelihood is that we will see, as the chart indicates, a dramatic 
expansion in the proportion of our national debt which is held by these 
trust funds.
  Those who are concerned about the long-term security of Social 
Security ought to be very concerned when they see that not only is the 
national debt rising to $8.5 trillion, and every one of those trillion 
dollars will require in the range of $65 to $75 billion a year in debt 
service, but also they will see that we have not accomplished what the 
Greenspan commission in 1983 contemplated would be accomplished in 
terms of the use of the Social Security surpluses.
  Let me just divert for a moment to go back to where we were in the 
late 1970's and the early 1980's.
  Up until that time Social Security was a pay-as-you-go system. Every 
year the Congress would look at the amount of money that was likely to 
be required to meet obligations in the next year, would examine how 
much was coming into the trust fund and, if there was a gap, would 
appropriate what was required in order to meet that year's obligations 
for Social Security.
  There was recognition that as our demographics were changing and 
larger and larger numbers of people were coming into the Social 
Security system and they were living longer and therefore utilizing the 
system for more years, that that pay-as-you-go system was a certain 
railroad track to disaster.
  So in 1983, under President Reagan, a commission was established to 
look at the long-term well-being of Social Security. That commission 
recommended that the United States adopt a system, which is used by 
most other industrialized countries which have a Social Security 
System, that rather than have a pay-as-you-go program, we would have a 
program in which the Social Security System would consciously and 
purposefully operate in a surplus position during those years when 
there was relatively less demand on the system so that when the demand 
increased, there would be a pool of resources in order to meet those 
additional obligations of the Federal Government to America's retirees.
  This all occurred at a time when we were still operating in the 
national tradition of relatively modest national debt. As recently as 
1980, we had a national debt of less than $1 trillion. That was the 
environment in which the Greenspan commission was making its 
  So what did they expect we would do with all of these surpluses that 
their proposal was directing be accumulated in order to have a pool of 
resources to meet future demands? What they contemplated was that the 
Social Security surpluses would be used to buy down the debt held by 
the public. In fact, their calculations in the early 1980's were that 
we would have virtually eliminated the debt held by the public, the 
surpluses in Social Security would have been so great.
  What they failed to anticipate was the fact that we would lose all 
this tradition of fiscal discipline in the country and would go into an 
unprecedented period of a binge of deficits that would escalate our 
national debt from less than $1 trillion to today's $5.4 trillion.
  My amendment will return us to what was the expectation of the 
Greenspan commission, albeit not to the extent that they had 
contemplated because conditions are different in 1997 than they were in 
  What we will be doing with this amendment is we will be not adding to 
the national debt through the additions to the Social Security surplus, 
but rather will be buying down the debt which is currently held by the 
public so that when we reach the point that we will start making 
substantial payments to the baby-boomer wave of retirees, we will be 
operating from a

[[Page S1692]]

dramatically lower level of total national debt and an equally 
dramatically lower level of debt held by the public.
  If you are concerned about the security of the Social Security 
System, if you want to say, ``I want to have a balanced budget 
amendment, but I don't want to have a balanced budget amendment that is 
excessively complex which is written in statutory terms rather than 
constitutional terms,'' my friends, I would suggest that the way to 
accomplish all of those objectives and to do what the commission that 
gave us our current Social Security System contemplated is to adopt my 
amendment and direct that these Social Security surpluses will not be 
used as the basis of new national debt but rather will be used as the 
basis for substitution for the debt that is currently held by the 
  In my opinion, and representing a State which has proportionately 
more Social Security beneficiaries than any other State in the Nation, 
this is the way to protect Social Security at the same time we protect 
our grandchildren against an enormous layering on of additional debt.
  Mr. President, the amendment that I have offered would eliminate the 
current amendment's incentive to excessively borrow from Social 
Security because all national debt, whether it is held by the general 
public or held from internal accounts such as Social Security, will be 
treated equally in terms of the three-fifths requirement in order to 
exceed the level of debt that existed in the year 2002.
  Mr. President, I recognize that this is a somewhat difficult subject 
matter, however, it is critical subject matter if we are to accomplish 
our objective of providing to the American people what they believe 
they are getting from this balanced budget amendment, to save the 
American people almost $2 trillion in debt between now and the year 

  I point out, Mr. President, that all of the numbers I have used in 
these charts are numbers that have been provided by the Congressional 
Budget Office. They are the numbers that we as Members of Congress are 
obligated to use in our budget analysis in our budgetary decisions.
  Mr. President, I believe, in summary, that there are five reasons why 
we should adopt this amendment. It is honest. It limits debt as it has 
been defined historically. It is the same definition of debt that we 
use when we have to periodically pass resolutions to raise the national 
debt. We are raising the total national debt limit, not just that 
component that is held by the public. We will be doing what the 
American people think they have directed us to do.
  Second, it is fiscally conservative. It will prevent adding another 
$2 trillion to the national debt in the next 25 years. In fact, this 
amendment is the most conservative of any amendment which is currently 
being considered by the Senate.
  Third, it is simple. It does not add complex additional theories to 
the balanced budget amendment. It deletes words which may appear to be 
benign but which, in my opinion, have serious negative policy 
implications when we only restrict the national debt to that held by 
the public.
  Fourth, it will have a very positive impact on the Nation's economy. 
It will release the $2 trillion, which under the amendment, the 
balanced budget amendment section 2 language that is currently before 
the Senate, will be used to fund additional national debt, will become 
$2 trillion that can be used to invest in the private sector, 
contribute to lower interest rates, stimulating economy growth and more 
  When the Social Security surpluses are used to buy down the debt held 
by the public, less private capital will be tied up in Government 
borrowing. Those private investment resources will be redirected to the 
private sector, creating positive economic growth.
  Fifth, it will protect the Social Security from those in Congress who 
would exploit its unique standing as the easiest source of capital from 
which to borrow. Social Security trust funds will be treated equally 
and fairly under my amendment with all other sources of borrowing by 
the Federal Government, without giving any program any special standing 
in the Constitution and not creating the perverse incentive to go first 
to the Social Security trust fund for borrowing.
  Mr. President, again, I recognize we are dealing with an arcane, 
frequently misunderstood section of the balanced budget amendment. From 
the Judiciary Committee report, to opinion columns, to leaders in the 
administration, there is confusion about what section 2 means and what 
it will do. But there is no excuse for this Senate to misunderstand 
what this provision means. Our whole purpose in the constitutional 
scheme is to be that part of the Government that can deliberate, can 
consider complex matters and reach resolutions that are in the national 
interest. Let us not allow this opportunity to pass us by.
  We have the chance here to save almost $2 trillion in financial 
obligations for our children and grandchildren. To release that $2 
trillion to help create the jobs for our children and grandchildren, to 
preserve the Social Security trust fund, and to give the American 
people what they have a right to expect from this balanced budget 
amendment, a restriction on the total national debt that they will be 
required to pay. I urge the adoption of this amendment.
  Mr. THOMAS. Mr. President, I think maybe it is appropriate that the 
pages brought to the floor after we went into session what is 
essentially 26 years of unbalanced budgets. I think this is a great 
symbolic pile of stuff. We ought to remember that is what this whole 
thing is about.
  We hear people continuing to say, ``Well, let's just do it.'' We have 
not just done it, and here is the evidence.
  I yield such time as he may consume to the Senator from Idaho.
  Mr. CRAIG. I thank my colleague from Wyoming for yielding. Let me say 
at the outset of my comments that I am pleased to join with Senator 
Graham today in a discussion about an area of the balanced budget 
amendment that he admits is not necessarily viewed with the kind of 
critical nature that other parts of the amendment have been. The 
Senator from Florida has, in a very sincere way, taken a close look at 
this and tried to offer an alternative that maybe on the outset bears 
some attractiveness. I was approached by the Senator and in good faith 
took a detailed look at his amendment, and my reaction in the next few 
minutes are as follows.
  I do not question the sincerity at all of the Senator from Florida 
for what he is attempting to do here, to assure that the trust funds of 
Social Security are held solvent from his perspective and yet to deal 
with the issue of debt. Our amendment is straightforward.
  Section 1 contains the balanced budget rule, total outlays should not 
exceed total receipts except by a three-fifths vote. Section 6 allows 
good-faith use of reasonable estimates in planning a balanced budget. 
In Senate Joint Resolution 1 the numbers match up. The balanced budget 
rule and the enforcement of that rule correspond with each other.
  Over the years, as we have worked to refine this amendment, and I 
must say that the amendment that we have before the Senate has been 
well over a decade in refinement so that if we enshrine this in the 
Constitution we believe it will work in a total sense, while I say all 
of that, section 2 requires a three-fifths vote to increase the limit 
on debt held by the public. If the Congress balanced the budget every 
year, the debt held by the public will not increase. That is, in 
reality, the balanced budget. That is what the public would expect that 
is what we would accomplish by the language of the amendment.
  Therefore, freezing the limit on debt held by the public directly 
enforces honest and accurate estimates to produce a balanced budget. 
That, of course, is another one of our goals, to engage the executive 
and the legislative branches, the Office of Management and Budget with 
the Congressional Budget Office and the appropriate budget members to 
make as accurate as possible the projections that produce the revenue 
to offset the expenditures.
  The relationship among deficit debt and trust funds is important here 
and this is the crux of the Graham amendment. Debt held by public is 
Federal debt owed to debtors outside Government. When an official trust 
fund runs a surplus, by law it must invest the surplus funds in 
Treasury securities.

[[Page S1693]]

For example, the Treasury is required to borrow those funds--money 
moving inside Government, not outside Government.
  These interagency or intragovernmental borrowings, plus debt held by 
public, money we borrow from the public with the selling of Treasury 
notes, is included in gross debt. If the budget is balanced, debt held 
by public does not change. If the budget is balanced and all trust 
funds continue to run a surplus, then the gross debt goes up. By the 
very nature of the money in those surpluses, of those trust funds being 
loaned to the Government, so the Government general fund, if you will, 
owes. Therefore, it has debt, debt back to the trust funds. If the 
budget is balanced and the trust funds run a deficit, the gross debt 
goes down. That is the frustration of the Graham amendment.
  Under the Graham amendment the numbers, in my opinion, do not match 
up. The Graham amendment places a section 2 limit on debt held by the 
public with a limit on gross debt. That is the crux of his amendment, 
changing public to gross. Congress can only comply with the section 1 
balanced budget rule and still be significantly out of compliance with 
section 2 limits. That creates the schism, if you will, in the 
amendment to the Constitution, in my opinion, if the Graham amendment 
were to become a part of it.
  Therefore, if Congress precisely balances the budget, then it must 
either repeatedly muster a three-fifths vote to allow the trust funds 
to run a surplus, or to avoid a three-fifths vote on the gross debt 
limit raid and reduce the trust fund surpluses. That would be the 
ultimate outcome in my opinion of how Congress would have to react to 
the Graham amendment if it were to become a part.
  If Congress does not want to reduce the trust fund balance, then it 
must run large surpluses by cutting spending in the nontrust fund part 
of the budget or by raising taxes.
  For the years 2002 to 2007, that means up to $435 billion in 
additional cuts or taxes, in my opinion. Long-term impact of the Graham 
amendment on debt and deficit would then be as follows. It would be 
politically difficult for Congress to continually outperform the 
balanced budget rule in section 1, that is, run large surpluses. It may 
be much easier to muster the three-fifths vote to increase the gross 
debt limit and say it is a ``technicality,'' a ``necessity,'' to allow 
trust funds to run a surplus; therefore, there will be upward pressure 
on debt.
  Senator Graham is right, this is complicated. That is why not a lot 
of people focus on it. But I disagree with him not only on the 
frustration of it, but on the outcome of it. Without a section 2 limit 
on debt held by the public that directly enforces honest and accurate 
budget estimates, Congress and the President will continue to face 
political pressure to use the rosy scenario estimates; therefore, it 
will still be easier to deficit spend.
  One of the things I believe the amendment that we have introduced on 
the floor forces is as accurate and as honest estimates as you can get, 
because if, in fact, you produce a deficit, the ability to move that 
deficit in the debt is a tough vote, and it really forces the fiscal 
constraints and the tough decisions that we want our balanced budget 
amendment to the Constitution to cause this Congress to deal with.
  Even if the gross debt limit under the Graham amendment remains 
frozen at $6.7 trillion, as his chart would suggest, it still leaves 
room to add an additional $2.9 trillion to debt held by the public 
between the years 2019 and 2029.
  My argument is simply this, Mr. President, and I will take the Graham 
chart and simply extend the line, because this is discretionary on the 
part of the Congress. It is arguable, by his figures, that there is a 
decline, but the ceiling remains upward. I know the Congress, and I 
think Senator Graham knows the Congress. If they have room to spend, 
oh, boy, do they love to spend. That $2.9 trillion gives them that 
opportunity, to actually increase real debt. So what would happen down 
here in debt held by the public, potentially, under this? This line 
turns upward. This category of debt held by the public versus the green 
category, which is debt held by other trusts, and the red, of course, 
is the Social Security trust funds, that line begins to move up.
  In the year 2029, the Graham amendment allows a $6.7 trillion debt, 
while our amendment as proposed, Senate Joint Resolution 1, allows a 
$5.8 trillion debt--almost a trillion dollars less. I figure that a 
trillion dollars is a lot of money, especially when it's borrowed, it's 
debt, and you are paying interest on it. That is one of the great 
frustrations we are dealing with today --that finally debt has caught 
up with us. We used to argue that debt was a good stimulus to the 
economy and, oh, well, the public owed it to themselves, it was no big 
deal. But, today, it is the second largest item in the Federal budget, 
soon to shove them all out if we continue this kind of debt creation 
under deficit spending.
  This is why I have to oppose the Graham amendment, because I don't 
believe that it gets us to where we want to go. I think I now 
understand what the Senator from Florida tries to do, and it is not a 
criticism of what he tries to do; it is an observation of what he tries 
to do. Where I think its weaknesses rest--because, if you talk gross 
debt but you don't talk debt held by the public, it changes the whole 
dynamics of the process, as I understand it, and in this outyear 
period. Somebody might say, ``Senator Craig, why are you worried about 
2029?'' We are talking about the 28th amendment to the Constitution. We 
are talking about a process that we have been well over a decade in 
trying to create, and it will not be changed easily, or overnight, if 
it is in error or if the Graham amendment were to become part of it and 
then we were to find it creates this kind of glitch. We would struggle 
for decades trying to solve that, with the potential of increasing the 
debt structure by well over a trillion dollars. The last I checked, 
interest on a debt of a trillion dollars is significant--probably 
around $50 billion a year.
  That is the reality of the amendment, as I see it, and certainly I 
stand to be corrected. Of course, he knows his amendment a great deal 
better than I. I tried to study it because I knew the Senator was 
sincere in his effort to deal with this in a legitimate way and at the 
same time recognize, as we all want to recognize, the protection of the 
trust funds, which now help finance the debt structure of this country.
  I believe, if you keep it within the unified budget, if you recognize 
all debt, then you create the kind of honesty that you must play with 
in a sincere and direct way and force both the executive branch of our 
Government and the legislative branch of our Government, in each and 
every budget cycle, to produce the kind of honest estimates that drive 
the budget process to produce actual spending at or near balance on an 
annualized basis.
  With those comments, I stand in opposition to the Graham amendment 
and certainly urge my colleagues to oppose it.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, how much time do I have remaining?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The minority has 16 minutes 46 seconds 
  Mr. GRAHAM. I yield myself such time as is necessary.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida is recognized.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, since this debate started, I have received 
a letter from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and 
Medicare, dated today, which I would like to submit for the Record. To 
quote one paragraph:

       S.J. Res. 1 requires a three-fifths, super-majority vote to 
     increase ``public'' borrowing, but since it does not require 
     such Congressional approval for trust fund borrowing, it 
     provides a powerful incentive for the increased use of trust 
     fund borrowing as a means to pay for general fund programs. 
     We support your effort to correct this definition of ``debt'' 
     as a needed improvement.

  The letter is signed by Martha McSteen, president of the National 
Committee to Preserve National Security and Medicare.
  I ask unanimous consent that the letter be printed in the Record 
immediately after my remarks.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  (See exhibit 1.)
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, the Senator from Idaho raised several 
points. I want to focus on three.
  First, he raises the issue of, are we adding a speculative element 
into this balanced budget amendment by applying debt to the total debt 
rather than

[[Page S1694]]

to only that component of the national debt which is held by the 
public. I suggest quite to the contrary--that it is exactly the 
definition that we are using which this Congress has written into the 
statute. It is the definition that we use when we are required to 
assess whether we are about to exceed the national debt. So it is the 
definition that is not speculative. It is the definition that we are 
accustomed to using. It is the definition that the American people 
understand, in part because we have helped them understand it by using 
things like the debt clock, which focuses on the total national debt.
  Finally, and most fundamentally, the debt is not a projected amount, 
it is a fiscal reality. It is, as anyone knows who has ever balanced a 
family budget or dealt with the books of a business, the last number on 
the page after you have looked at what your revenues are, what your 
expenses are, and you can see whether you are in a profit or a debt 
situation. That is the circumstance that the U.S. Government is in when 
we look at that bottom number and say, oh, my goodness, we have just 
added another $107 billion of deficit in the fiscal year 1997 that will 
then become an additional layer on top of our national debt.
  Second, the Senator from Idaho raises a very significant and 
interesting issue. That is what are we going to do after the year 2019.
  I might say the chart that the Senator has could be replicated 
precisely on the chart of the balanced budget amendment as submitted. 
That is the amendment that only restricts debt held by the public. This 
constitutional amendment and the constitutional amendment with my 
amendment, all are going to face the very difficult issue of what do 
you do when you reach that point sometime in the second decade of the 
21st century when, instead of running a surplus in the Social Security 
system, as we are today, and will for the next 20 or so years, we 
suddenly start to run big deficits as all of those people born after 
1945 begin to retire? It is their turn to become eligible for Social 
Security. And enormous deficits are going to be run in the Social 
Security system.
  Those are not speculative or imaginative. They are exactly what the 
1983 Social Security Commission contemplated. Add surpluses during 
periods of relatively limited numbers of Americans benefiting by Social 
Security so that we can meet the obligations when we are in a 
demographic period with large numbers of retirees.
  So what are we going to do when we get out here to around the year 
2019? Frankly, there is no free lunch. What we have been doing is, we 
have been borrowing from the general fund from Social Security. Social 
Security does not have a great bank filled up with stocks and bonds, or 
real estate deeds, or other assets that have a market value. What it 
has is IOU's from the General Treasury.
  Beginning in about the year 2019, the Social Security beneficiaries 
are going to be knocking on the door of that vault, saying, ``We want 
to redeem these IOU's.'' What are we going to do? We basically have 
three choices.
  We have the choice of reducing spending every place else in the 
Federal Government sufficient to release the money to be able to redeem 
the IOU's and pay off this obligation. We can raise taxes sufficiently 
to do the same thing. Or, we can begin again to borrow from the public, 
in order to be able to substitute borrowing from the public, in order 
to meet the borrowing that we have been doing for the last three 
decades from the Social Security trust fund.
  If somebody has another alternative to those three, or some 
combination, I would suggest that they might want to identify them.
  What is going to be the difference between where we will be under the 
bill as it is introduced and where we will be under the bill as my 
amendment would have it? First, instead of having to repay, dealing 
with a Federal deficit at $8.5 trillion, we are going to be 
approximately $2 trillion less in debt. If you had a big obligation 
coming, wouldn't you feel better about your ability to meet it if you 
were relatively less indebted than if you were more indebted? Clearly, 
the Nation will be better off, better positioned to meet its 
obligations, if it starts from a lower position of national debt.
  Under the amendment that we have, when we come to this period in the 
year 2019, and we elect not to cut spending and we don't want to raise 
taxes as the only two ways to meet this obligation to meet the payment 
of the IOU's that the General Treasury will owe to the Social Security 
trust fund, but we would like to consider borrowing from the public, 
what is our position going to be? For two decades we will have been 
operating under a constitutional amendment that says you can borrow 
from these trust funds by a majority vote, which is relatively not easy 
but past history has shown is not politically a Mount Everest to climb. 
But we are going to say you have to have a three-fifths vote to borrow 
from the public.

  So we are going to find ourselves in about 20 years facing the 
prospect of having to, for the first time, use that three-fifths vote 
requirement to increase the debt held by the public, having ballooned 
the debt by a majority vote from our borrowings from these other trust 
funds. And I would suggest that is not going to be a very happy time to 
be a Member of the U.S. Congress.
  I think that what we are doing today is leaving to our successors--
not in the far distant future but just about 20 years from now--an 
extremely indebted America with a constitutional structure that is 
going to make it very difficult for us to meet our obligations to those 
Social Security beneficiaries.
  My amendment would have us enter that period with substantially less 
indebtedness. We would have been applying this three-fifths vote to all 
borrowing, not just to that held by the public.
  But the most significant difference of how we will be in the year 
2019 goes to the very first point that the Senator from Idaho talked 
about. It is not correct to say that the only thing you can do with 
Social Security surpluses is borrow. If that is the case, then clearly 
we are locked into this chart. Clearly, we are looking like a plane 
that is on automatic pilot and all the members of the cockpit have 
bailed out.
  We know where we are heading. We are heading to an $8.5 trillion 
national debt, if, in fact, we are required to borrow all of the money 
from these trust funds and add it to the national debt. That is not 
what the Greenspan commission contemplated in 1983. That is not what my 
amendment would allow us to do; that is, instead of adding to the 
national debt, why don't we take those surpluses and pay off some of 
the debt we have already so we don't have to continually place our 
children and grandchildren under a greater and greater burden? But, 
rather, we can face the day when we will have to make substantial 
repayments of these Social Security IOU's. This is the best possible 
fiscal condition for America, and with our debt to the general public 
at the lowest level that our fiscal condition over the next two decades 
will allow us to be.
  So, Mr. President, we do have an alternative. We are not obligated to 
have $8.5 trillion in debt. We can make that debt clock tick in the 
future as we are representing. We can make it a means by which we can 
protect our future, not enslave our future.
  Mr. President, just to summarize again with greater brevity why I 
think this amendment is critical, it is honest. It does what the 
American people expect us to do. It is fiscally conservative. It saves 
almost $2 trillion in borrowing. It is simple and direct. It is not 
complicated. It will have a positive impact on our Nation's economy by 
releasing $2 trillion into the private sector. The only real long-term 
salvation of Social Security--and our retirement systems, whether they 
are Government or otherwise--is a strong American economy. And if we 
can put $2 trillion more into that private economy, we will be making a 
fundamental contribution to the strength of our Social Security and all 
of our other retirement programs.
  We would avoid the temptation, as the National Committee for the 
Preservation of Social Security and Medicare points out, to use the 
Social Security system as the cash cow, as the point of first 
preference for borrowing for the Federal Government by saying we are 
not going to establish a different standard for borrowing from the 
Social Security fund than we apply to borrowing from the general 
public. Both would be subject to a supermajority of

[[Page S1695]]

three-fifths of the Members of the Congress in order to increase the 
total national debt.
  So, Mr. President, for those reasons, I respectfully suggest the 
analysis of the Senator from Idaho is not an appropriate projection of 
the consequences of this amendment and that, rather, the honesty, the 
reduction of the total national debt and the protection of Social 
Security by, among other things, stimulating a higher rate of economic 
growth in America are the goals which are sought and I believe will be 
accomplished by the adoption of this amendment.
  I thank the Chair.

                               Exhibit 1

                                    National Committee to Preserve

                                 Social Security and Medicare,

                                Washington, DC, February 26, 1997.
       Dear Senator Graham: On behalf of its five and a half 
     million members and supporters, the National Committee to 
     Preserve Social Security and Medicare wishes to express our 
     support for your proposed amendment to S.J. Res. 1, a 
     resolution to amend the Constitution to require a balanced 
     federal budget. Among our concerns about S.J. Res. 1 is that 
     it would change the current definition of federal debt. Your 
     proposed amendment would change the current language ``debt 
     held by the public'' in S.J. Res. 1, to include all federal 
     debt, particularly that which the government holds for 
     itself--i.e. the federal trust funds. We appreciate your 
     leadership on this important issue.
       As drafted, S.J. Res. 1 contains a provision which 
     intentionally removes Social Security trust fund holdings of 
     U.S. securities from the definition of ``public debt,'' even 
     though the trust fund money was borrowed to finance the 
     deficit. This change would permit the Treasury to increase 
     its debt by borrowing from the trust funds without obtaining 
     the Congressional approval required to borrow money from 
     other sources.
       S.J. Res. 1 requires a three-fifths, super-majority vote to 
     increase ``public'' borrowing, but since it does not require 
     such Congressional approval for trust fund borrowing, it 
     provides a powerful incentive for the increased use of trust 
     fund borrowing as a means to pay for general fund programs. 
     We support your effort to correct this definition of ``debt'' 
     as a needed improvement.
                                                Martha A. McSteen,

  Mr. THOMAS. Mr. President, I yield as much time as he may use to the 
Senator from Idaho.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Enzi). The Chair recognizes the Senator 
from Idaho.
  Mr. THOMAS. Mr. President, how much time remains on our side?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority has 31 minutes and 50 seconds, 
the minority 3 minutes and 20 seconds.
  Mr. THOMAS. I thank the Chair.
  Mr. CRAIG. I thank the Chair.
  I will not take much more time to discuss the Graham amendment other 
than the disagreement that he and I might have as relates to the 
ceiling that is created, and while I would argue that what he wishes to 
accomplish is impossible to do, and that is a buy down of debt, unless 
by this whole character of activity here from now until the year 2019 
we have changed the whole culture of political pressure in this country 
and interest group activity, my guess is that the pressure to spend 
money, if the system would allow it, beyond the balance because of the 
limit on the debt ceiling, would be great.
  He and I recognize the tremendously laudable goal of trying to buy 
down debt, and I think Americans are all asking us, well, if you in 
fact can get the budget balanced in the timeframe that you are 
suggesting, does that mean then we are going to get rid of some of this 
debt, because interest on debt is going to be even higher by the year 
2002 than it is today because we are still creating debt. Even under 
our scenario, as conservative as it is and as damning as this 
administration thinks it is, we are still going to be creating lots of 
debt out there because we are still deficit spending. Although ours is 
declining and the President's is in reality increasing, we are still 
creating debt. So I do not blame the Senator from Florida for wanting 
to find a time in which we can buy down debt. I would like to do the 
same. But his is not an obligation to do that; his is only an 
opportunity to do that. And therein lies the difference in why I think 
what we do today is the right thing by not amending the proposed 
  Social Security is a concern of all of ours and it has been, and you 
have heard a lot of debate in the Chamber in the last 3 weeks about 
Social Security. It is a social contract and a financial obligation 
that we hold to the senior citizens of our country. None of us want to 
deny it or walk away from it. We want to deal with it responsibly and 
straightforward and we want to create the fiscal environment in which 
we can honor that debt.
  I am one of those who believes that if we fail to balance the budget, 
there will come a day when we cannot honor that debt. We should not 
suffer the illusion that a bankrupt government can send checks out. 
Tragically enough, there are some Social Security recipients who 
believe that somehow they will be held whole while the rest of the 
world collapses, the world of a Government that is so badly in debt 
that it cannot honor its commitments or, more importantly, at a time 
when the public would simply reject it.
  Gross interest payments this year reached $344 billion, fiscal year 
1996. The debt grows, the mandatory interest payments grow. Here are 
the figures. Social Security, we spent $347 billion on Social Security 
this year; gross interest on debt, $344 billion; defense, $266 billion; 
all the domestic discretionary programs, $248 billion; Medicare, $191 
billion; Medicaid, $92 billion; net interest on debt held by public, a 
subset of gross interest or gross debt, the kind that the Senator from 
Florida was talking about, $241 billion.
  The reality of what we do is damning the future of this country, 
damning the future of the obligations we hold to the seniors of our 
communities if we fail in balancing the budget.
  The President, I believe, 12 times in his State of the Union said he 
was going to produce a balanced budget, and we all held our breath and 
did not criticize and waited for that budget to come to the Hill. And, 
voila, the words did not meet the fine print--$120 billion of deficit 
straight lined until the end of his term and then, guess what? He 
leaves office and says: Now it is time to do the heavy lifting. You 
either have to take away the tax cuts I have given or cut spending 

  I am sorry, Mr. President. Once again your rhetoric just does not 
match up to your performance, and that budget does not work, and you 
have not dealt with a balanced budget in the honest and straightforward 
way that the Senator from Florida or the Senator from Idaho or the 
majority of Congress or a supermajority of the American people want us 
to deal with it. And that is a declining deficit structure to the year 
2002 when all of this comes into balance.
  The reality of the obligation to Social Security does not go away, 
but the honesty of budgeting materializes, and because we have created 
a unified budget the real pressure to cut so that we can honor the debt 
obligation to Social Security is there. We must get our fiscal house in 
order. We cannot, nor should we ever, allow interest on gross debt to 
become the greatest single expenditure in the Federal budget, and yet 
we are clearly headed in that direction. By most reasonable budget 
guesstimates we have missed that by only $3 billion this year.
  I know what any good business person or any good analyst of a 
business would say if the figures were like this in a business. They 
would say you are out of business; you are bankrupt; you cannot service 
your debt; you cannot afford to operate in this manner. However, 
because we can create debt in the nature that we have now for nearly 30 
years, we continue. Of course, that obligation gets immediately 
transferred outward into the future to our children, to our 
grandchildren, and somehow we are fair weather; we just go on saying we 
have done our job in a responsible way.
  I was saddened yesterday that the Senator from New Jersey would not 
honor his obligation and his verbal commitment to the citizens of his 
State. That is a tragedy, but he has made his choice. We all make our 
choices. Those are tough choices. The pressures are great here, but 
they are not so great as to walk away from your commitment to your 
citizens, to your public and to the oath of office. What we are trying 
to do is enshrine within the Constitution an obligation that Thomas 
Jefferson was so very clear about when he said there should have been 
an 11th amendment to the Bill of Rights and that was that we could not 
borrow. Now, we could have borrowed inside the budget but we could not 
borrow from outside the budget.
  What we are suggesting is that we cannot borrow from outside the 

[[Page S1696]]

We can borrow from inside the budget, and that is what we are doing 
now, and that is the unified budget. It does not make the obligation go 
away. It does not make the legal commitment go away. It does not say to 
the baby boomers that, when you get ready to retire your check won't be 
in the mail. What says to the baby boomers that your check may be 
threatened and may someday not be in the mail is the perpetual increase 
of debt, that which the Senator from Wyoming pointed out a few moments 
ago with all of those books stacked before him. It is one budget piled 
upon another budget piled upon another budget.
  Regarding half of those 28, half of those 28 budgets, the politicians 
who assembled them, interestingly enough, had the public tenacity to 
say they are heading toward balance. For 3 years we have been saying we 
are headed toward balance. The President's State of the Union Address 
before the American people assembled: ``I will produce balanced 
budgets.'' Oh, come on, Mr. President. We have read the fine print. You 
do not produce a balanced budget and you are not trying. You raise 
taxes, you raise revenue, you spend more for new programs, and after 
you have left office you say, ``Now, if you want to get it balanced, 
you either raise taxes or you cut spending.'' Big-time stuff, $50-
billion, $60-billion-type stuff--tough to do. Most important, he knows 
it's impossible to do. It is impossible to do unless Senate Joint 
Resolution 1 is the organic law of the land.
  It is the Constitution through which the public views its Government 
and controls its Government and tells its Government what to do. That 
is the test before us.
  While the Senator from Florida in a responsible way attempts to 
address that, I ask that we reject his amendment because of the risk of 
increasing debt by at least another $1 trillion or more inside what we 
could definitionally call a balanced budget. We dare not do that to our 
public. Most important, we dare not allow that kind of latitude in 
future Congresses. I am not going to be here then. The Senator from 
Florida is not going to be here then. But his action, my action, the 
action of this Senate, whether it is on Senate Joint Resolution 1 
amended by the Senator from Florida, or if it is left as it is 
presented, will be the law of the land that dictates to the Congress 
and to the Senate in the year 2019 or 2028: This is how you operate. 
These are the parameters within which you must perform, in which you 
must make priorities for spending. It must be balanced, it must be 
honest, it must be fair.
  What we do here is going to be important both in the short term and 
in the long term. What we do must be honest and must be clear and 
undefinitional to future Congresses so, just like the first amendment 
or the second or the third, they are not arbitrary, they are not 
capricious, they do not create those kinds of actions. They are real 
and we honor them. So our language must be clear and unambiguous.
  Mr. President, I hope my colleagues will join us in opposing the 
amendment by the Senator from Florida. I do not believe it creates the 
environment in which we must operate. I yield the remainder of my time.
  Mr. THOMAS. How much time remains, I ask the Chair?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The time remaining for the majority is 19 
minutes 20 seconds. The Chair recognizes the Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. THOMAS. Mr. President, I want, first of all, to congratulate the 
Senator from Idaho for his leadership in this matter. I don't think 
there is a more important issue before us than the idea of being 
financially and fiscally responsible. I say that also to my friend from 
Florida, who supports this concept of accountability as well. Certainly 
there will be a lot said--there has been a lot said, maybe everything 
has already been said but maybe not everyone has said it--but it is 
broader than the books, it is broader than the numbers, it is broader 
than math. It is a question of being responsible to ourselves, being 
responsible to our children, being responsible to the future. It is a 
question of priorities. It is a question of, really, dealing with the 
issue rather than what has been done over the last 30 years, by saying, 
yes, we are going to balance, yes, we are going to balance the budget, 
yes, we are going to do it, and not doing it.
  I think one of the ironies is many of those who oppose this balanced 
budget amendment say, ``Oh, yes, we are going to do it,'' and point to 
the President's budget--which does not do it. It does not achieve 
balance by 2002 and stay in balance. It does not provide permanent tax 
relief. It does things in Medicare that are strictly gimmicks. It 
spends $21 billion more on welfare and raises taxes by $80 billion. It 
has $60 billion in new entitlements.
  So let us be clear that, if we want different results, we have to 
change the way we do things, and that is what this amendment is all 
  Let me yield to my friend from Missouri. We have approximately 18 
minutes left, and I will yield as much time as he requires.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair recognizes the Senator from 
  Mr. BOND. Mr. President, I thank the distinguished manager of the 
bill. I have asked for this time to spend about 5 minutes to introduce 
a piece of legislation, so, while it will count against the time, I ask 
unanimous consent to be permitted to proceed as in morning business for 
that 5-minute period.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. BOND. I thank the Chair.
  (The remarks of Mr. Bond pertaining to the introduction of S. 368 are 
located in today's Record under ``Statements on Introduced Bills and 
Joint Resolutions.'')
  Mr. BOND. Mr. President, I reserve the remainder of the time, and I 
yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
  Mr. GRAHAM addressed the Chair.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, I believe I have approximately 3 minutes 
remaining, which I would like to use to close after the opponents of 
the amendment have completed their arguments.
  Mr. HATCH addressed the Chair.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair recognizes the Senator from Utah.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I think this side has said everything it 
needs to say. I will be happy to yield any time of our remaining time, 
unless somebody else wants to speak, to our friend from Florida.
  We have to oppose this amendment. We know how helpful the Senator 
from Florida is and how much this means to him. We have appreciated the 
support he has provided in this debate and certainly will listen to 
what he says here.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida has the remaining 
time of 3 minutes and 1 second.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, to close briefly, let me underscore that I 
support the balanced budget amendment. I will vote for the balanced 
budget amendment in the form it was reported by the Judiciary 
Committee. I do so because I believe it is superior to the alternative 
of continuing with the status quo, a status quo that had added $4.5 
trillion to our national debt in less than 20 years.
  I believe, however, that the balanced budget amendment can be 
improved. I have suggested what I think is an important area of that 
improvement, and that is that after we have achieved the objective of 
section 1 of the balanced budget amendment, which is to see that we 
will bring as rapidly as possible our annual accounts into balance, we 
will not be adding to the national deficit, that we will then place a 
safety lock on that gain by saying there shall not be any further 
increases in the national debt without a three-fifths vote of both 
Houses of Congress.
  The amendment that is before us does not do that, although there are 
many who believe that it does that, because the three-fifths vote only 
applies to that portion of the national debt which is held by the 
public, by individuals, by corporations, by State and local 
governments, by all the people who buy Federal securities.
  My amendment would strike that limitation and have the requirement of 
a three-fifths vote of both Houses of Congress apply to all of the 
national debt. It would apply to the totality of the $5.4 trillion 
national debt that we now have.
  Mr. President, there was some suggestion in the concluding remarks of 
the Senator from Idaho that in some

[[Page S1697]]

way by my amendment I had weakened the existing three-fifths 
requirement that is in the constitutional amendment as it relates to 
debt held by the public. Absolutely to the contrary. I am extending the 
same three-fifths requirement to the rest of the debt of the Federal 
Government, continuing to apply it to debt held by the public, but also 
applying it to that debt which the Federal Government borrows from its 
own trust funds.
  In brief summary, Mr. President, I believe the following reasons are 
why this amendment should be adopted:
  It is honest.
  It comports with what the American people believe we are doing when 
we say we are restricting national debt.
  It is fiscally conservative. It will result in almost $2 trillion 
less national debt over the next 20 years than will be almost certainly 
the case if we do not adopt this amendment.
  It is simple. It does not add new or complex concepts to the balanced 
budget constitutional amendment.
  It will have a very positive effect on the Nation's economy. The 
result of releasing $2 trillion that otherwise would be used to finance 
unnecessary and excessive national debt into the private sector will 
increase our Nation's economic growth and strength.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent for 60 seconds to conclude my 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, finally, by using these surpluses, as the 
1983 Social Security Commission had anticipated they would be used, to 
reduce the amount of Federal debt which is currently owed to the 
general public and, therefore, place our Nation in a stronger fiscal 
position to meet our future obligations to Social Security, we will be 
strengthening the Social Security system. And for that reason, the 
National Committee for the Preservation of Social Security and Medicare 
has endorsed this amendment.
  I urge the adoption of this amendment which I believe is exactly 
consistent with the purposes of the balanced budget amendment, will add 
to its strength, and will add to the acceptance of the American people, 
because it will be the amendment that they believe we are about to 
adopt and submit to the States for ratification. I urge the adoption of 
this amendment.
  Mr. HATCH addressed the Chair.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I compliment the distinguished Senator from 
Florida. He has been one of the great leaders on the balanced budget 
amendment, prior to this debate and certainly during this debate. I 
believe he deserves a lot of commendation from both sides of the floor 
for his steadfastness and standing up on this amendment.
  We cannot support this particular amendment to the balanced budget 
constitutional amendment, and I regret that we cannot. But, in spite of 
that fact, our colleague from Florida has been one of the leaders out 
here, and I personally just want to express my appreciation for his 
efforts and for the work he has done on his side of the floor, as well 
as our side of the floor. I appreciate it.
  Mr. President, I understand that the vote cannot occur until 12:35?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. There is no order to that effect.
  Mr. HATCH. I ask unanimous consent that I be permitted to move to 
table, with the vote not occurring before 12:35.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. HATCH. I move to table the amendment, with the understanding that 
the vote will not occur until 12:35. I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  Mr. HATCH. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The question occurs on agreeing to the motion to lay on the table 
amendment No. 7 offered by the Senator from Florida [Mr. Graham]. The 
yeas and nays have been ordered. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. FORD. I announce that the Senator from Delaware [Mr. Biden] and 
the Senator from Louisiana [Ms. Landrieu] are necessarily absent.
  I further announce that, if present and voting, the Senator from 
Louisiana [Ms. Landrieu] would vote ``no.''
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 59, nays 39, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 19 Leg.]


     Smith, Bob
     Smith, Gordon H.



                             NOT VOTING--2