Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) is a man on a mission. The freshman senator came to Washington after defeating an incumbent Republican, angering some in the GOP establishment but exciting Tea Party activists for his desire to end Washington’s reckless spending.
He hasn’t disappointed. Lee wasted little time crusading for a Balanced Budget Amendment, bringing together different factions of the GOP earlier this year to coalesce around a single goal.
Now that the country is engaged in a debate over the debt limit, Lee is seizing the moment to promote a plan that would finally provide accountability for Washington. He’s the author of a new book, “The Freedom Agenda: Why a Balanced Budget Amendment is Necessary to Restore Constitutional Government” (Regnery, 240 pages). He spoke to us this week about the plan and why he’s sticking to principle in the debt-limit debate.
For Lee, getting his own caucus to unify around the Hatch-Lee version of the Balanced Budget Amendment wasn’t easy, but now he faces the challenge of convincing Senate Democrats as well. Fortunately, Lee said, 23 of them are already on the record in support of a balanced budget. He believes that under the right circumstances, at least 20 would vote for the plan on the Senate floor.
As the youngest member of the U.S. Senate and a favorite of Tea Party activists, Lee certainly brings a unique perspective to the upper chamber on Capitol Hill.