Before a sympathetic audience Saturday, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran argued that the federal government should have to balance its budget — only spend what it takes in — just as states do.
The only way to do that is to add a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Moran said.
It will take that step, he said, because elected officialshaven't been willing to do it themselves.
Some political observers, however, argue that a federal balanced budget requirement would invite problems, partly because it is hard to define and would be cumbersome and impractical to enforce. Democrats have argued it would cause painful cuts in critical programs such as Medicaid, and Medicare.
Moran, speaking to a gathering in west Wichita hosted by Republican Women United, called for a "smaller, more frugal government."
He added later that the way he views it, the federal government's main responsibility is defending the nation.
He also called for less government regulation.
Moran said he understood that people are frustrated with Congress and President Obama over the troubled economy and political turmoil swirling around it. Unemployment remained at 9.1 percent in July.
When Congress returns from its break, Moran said, "We ought to be there for jobs, jobs, jobs."
The 2010 election in which he was elected to the Senate was about expanding the economy and adding jobs, he said.
As it stands, "We are in a significant recession," Moran said.
The recession has lasted so long, he said, because of continuing uncertainty about the economy.
Moran repeatedly called for less government regulation, for which he drew applause.
"In fact, the president talked about eliminating regulations, and nothing's ever happened," he said.
As it is, he said, regulations are "choking off access to capital and the desire for people to invest."
He contended that "regulations are becoming so consuming that we are about to lose community banks."
Because of the regulatory environment, he said, community banks aren't making home loans that could be made.
What Congress should do, Moran said, is "pass no new legislation unless it's repealing some old legislation."
He described the nation as being at a crossroads where each citizen bears a responsibility to do what he can do —"to make sure that the American dream doesn't die in our generation."