Perry
Perry

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-York County put his hand in the hopper this week, introducing his first two pieces of legislation since taking seat in January.

Perry penned a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution and a piece of Benghazi-inspired legislation to increase accountability at the State Department.

Perry campaigned on a balanced budget amendment and promised it would be one of his first bills.

"We have seen just no end to the appetite for any government," Perry said, adding there's a need for "checks and balances" to slow spending.

The debt is trillions of dollars and growing, and citizens are concerned the government will never be able to pay it back, he said.

Though numerous other balanced budget amendments have been introduced, Perry said he's hoping the legislation at least gets people talking.

"Listen, I'm a freshman and this is an amendment to the Constitution, so you need to know your position in life," he said. "But we want to be part of the conversation and hopefully spur some more interest in this and get more people involved in moving that effort forward."

Perry distinguished his proposal by adding a provision to reduce spending, over time, to its lowest level in 60 years. The bill also calls for government agencies to justify their funding and identify waste in their departments, he said.

Washington is currently spending $27 million to "train Moroccans to create pottery designs and $325,000 on robotic squirrels to test their interaction with snakes," he said.

"You think to yourself, 'How did that ever get approved?'" he said. " 'You can't afford to (pay tuition for members of the military or house federal prisoners) but you can afford to do this?'"

Such an amendment would have to pass the House and Senate by a two-thirds vote and be ratified by three-fourths of all state Legislatures.

A member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Perry was inspired to write the second piece of legislation after hearing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's testimony about last year's attack on the diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.

The attacks killed four people, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

Perry said some people didn't follow through on their security requirements, but there was no way to discipline them if they were derelict in their responsibilities.

His bill calls for a board that reviews incidents and can make recommendations to fire an employee.

Perry said the bill has bipartisan support.

- Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com.