This week, the Portland Press Herald Editorial Board attacked me for my longtime support of a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution (“Our View: Poliquin wants it both ways on federal deficits,” April 16). Unlike those on the editorial board, I believe the federal government should not spend money it doesn’t have. To a lot of fellow Mainers, that’s just common sense. Let me address the editorial board’s attacks individually.

Their first claim: My support for a balanced-budget amendment is nothing but a messaging ploy to score political points.

The truth: I have supported a balanced-budget amendment for years, dating back to my work as your state treasurer. In Congress, I signed on as an original co-sponsor of this budget discipline the day after being sworn in to office in January 2015. Since then, I have continuously pushed for a vote on this legislation. Last week, my hard work paid off. The House finally had a floor vote on a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. There is absolutely no ambiguity about my longtime support for a legal requirement for Washington to balance its books. Anything reported differently is pure fiction.

Their second claim: I hope no one in Maine is paying attention.

The truth: I’ve been publicly and vocally fighting for a balanced-budget amendment since before I entered Congress. Just in the last two weeks, I’ve sent out multiple news releases; conducted several interviews with media across Maine, and spoken directly on the House floor about this critical vote. Believe me, I want everyone in Maine to know exactly where I stand on this critical issue. I hope Mainers aren’t paying attention? Give me a break.

Their third claim: Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House. Therefore, they could pass a balanced budget if they really wanted.

The truth: The Press Herald Editorial Board is being patently dishonest with the facts here, or they just don’t know how Congress works.

It requires at least 60 votes in the Senate – which the Republicans don’t have – to pass any kind of budget. Anyone in the media worth their salt who writes about this topic would know that it would take a two-thirds vote in both chambers of Congress to pass a constitutional amendment. Well, guess what? Republicans don’t have two-thirds of the seats in the House or the Senate. This seems important to include in the Press Herald editorial, but, of course, it was conveniently omitted.

Furthermore, the editorial board missed the most important part of this entire issue: the broken budgeting process in Washington itself.

Earlier this year, each member of Congress was forced to vote up or down at the eleventh hour on a massive, 2,200-page spending package to fund the government and keep it open. Included in the omnibus budget were funds to rebuild our military during a time of war; money to construct advanced Navy destroyers at Bath Iron Works (which employs 6,000 fellow Mainers); assistance to combat the opioid epidemic, which is killing our kids; funds for LIHEAP heating oil assistance and school safety improvements, and many other priorities that the Press Herald Editorial Board likely supports. Vote “yes,” and Maine and America funds these priorities. Vote “no,” and you get nothing. But, also included in the budget was a whole lot of waste. And that is exactly the problem.

We need a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution to force Washington to spend only what it takes in, like nearly every state government across America. This will prioritize spending just like frugally managing a household or small-business budget. When you run out of money, that’s it – no more spending, or borrowing money your kids will have to repay. Only then will our nation’s books balance. With this discipline, we can then start chipping away at the $21 trillion mountain of public debt.

This is what I support. I hope it’s crystal clear.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.