RSC still fighting for a balanced budget amendment

posted at 2:30 pm on July 13, 2011 by Tina Korbe

Against the backdrop of the ongoing drama of deficit reduction negotiations, the House of Representatives next week will vote on a balanced budget amendment that would require supermajorities in both chambers to run a deficit, raise the debt ceiling, raise taxes or spend more than 18 percent of GDP.

In a column today in The USA Today, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) explain why such an amendment is necessary to ensure the country doesn’t run up against a debt ceiling deadline time and time again:

While the federal government has consistently collected revenue of about 18% of U.S. economic output, federal spending has consistently been even higher. The debt resulting from these budget deficits builds up until the debt limit is reached. And rather than fight the spending lobby, politicians have taken the easy route of raising the limit without cutting spending. …

Near-term spending cuts are necessary to alter the course, but they will not be enough without long-term changes. Likewise, promises of cuts 10 years from now mean little without a way to enforce them. The only way to truly guarantee delivery from future politicians is if the Constitution demands it. That’s why the House will vote next Wednesday on a balanced budget amendment that would require supermajorities in both chambers to run a deficit, raise the debt ceiling, raise taxes and spend more than 18% of GDP.

With the balanced budget movement gaining momentum, members of the spending lobby want to argue that Congress and the president already have the ability to control spending. Ability and discipline are not the same. If Washington actually had the discipline to live within its means over the long term, every American citizen would not owe $46,000 toward the national debt.

The Republican Study Committee also released a video that depicts just how precarious and politicized the debt and deficit issue will continue to be without a balanced budget amendment:

Even as I’ve begun to feel cynical about the debt limit negotiations, I find myself feeling encouraged by this — not because a balanced budget amendment is likely to be adopted any time soon (the hurdles for constitutional change are quite high, of course), but because House Republicans aren’t giving up. They’re introducing and reintroducing ideas that could actually put us on a path to real fiscal reform. Even more importantly, the ideas they’ve introduced suggest they are listening to the American people, who say both that they favor a balanced budget amendment and that they oppose a debt ceiling increase. Republicans continue to run up against the difficulty of controlling just one branch of government, but their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed — and it will surely pay to have the ideas in place should they take back the Senate or White House or both in 2012.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Never.

Happen.

GOP.

Too.

Weak.

fossten on July 13, 2011 at 2:33 PM

House of Representatives next week will vote on a balanced budget amendment that would require supermajorities in both chambers to run a deficit, raise the debt ceiling, raise taxes or spend more than 18 percent of GDP

Good luck, fellas. You’re gonna need it.

iurockhead on July 13, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Maybe in January 2013. Ain’t happening with this troupe of clowns.

iurockhead on July 13, 2011 at 2:35 PM

Methinks that this is just more tough talk. Actions are what are required these days, though, gentlemen.

search4truth on July 13, 2011 at 2:38 PM

They’re introducing and reintroducing ideas that could actually put us on a path to real fiscal reform

No Tina, they are not intorducing new ideas.

SSDD… they don’t know what new is.

upinak on July 13, 2011 at 2:40 PM

fossten on July 13, 2011 at 2:33 PM

The more they try the more likely it is that people will hear that the GOP is on their side in spite of what MSM says.

pedestrian on July 13, 2011 at 2:43 PM

They can’t get $100B in cuts, how are they going to get an amendment through?

miConsevative on July 13, 2011 at 2:48 PM

From the headline article:

Update: On CNBC last week, Warren Buffett had a very good comment:

I could end the deficit in 5 minutes. You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP all sitting members of congress are ineligible for reelection.

That is a much better provision in the BBA than the national security escape clause.

pedestrian on July 13, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Waste of time and effort.

BuckeyeSam on July 13, 2011 at 2:53 PM

Un freaking believeable. We’re actually hopeful that one and a half hours out of every work day will be all we have to serve in slavery to the UberState.

lm10001 on July 13, 2011 at 2:56 PM

A president who’s exhorting all involved in the protracted debt ceiling/budget/deficit negotiations to compromise and “eat our peas” actually wants America to eat what’s left of its seed corn. And there’s precious little of it.

President Obama long has been the king of false choices. In exchange for incurring more debt to meet the intractable obligations of the United States and spending reductions that, in typical Beltway fashion, still really only cut the rate of spending increases, Mr. Obama wants $1 trillion in tax hikes over the next decade. Senate Democrats want twice that amount.

On what planet would anyone propose gaining control of government spending and fixing the economy by jacking up taxes? Give the drunk more whiskey? Only on Planet Washington. This cat and his litter are shameless. For cryin’ out loud, Democrats couldn’t even pass a budget when they controlled everything!

Couple the twinning trillions proposal with the specter of ObamaCare and every other two-bit Obama-orchestrated government diktat and this nation surely will see the largest flight of capital overseas in its history.

There’s a real economic stimulus, eh?

Conscripting the words of Tailgunner Joe Biden, the vice president who never met a taxpayer he didn’t want to shoot down and pillage, “C’mon, man! Let’s get real!”

Schadenfreude on July 13, 2011 at 3:01 PM

I like Warren Buffet’s idea: when the deficit or total spending for one year reaches X% of GDP, all sitting congressvarmints are thereby ineligible to run for re-election. And no waivers!

Akzed on July 13, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Looks like the RSC is getting behind a DeMint idea.

I see a major power shift in the Senate. And it isn’t in Mich McConnell’s direction.

DINORight on July 13, 2011 at 3:05 PM

Who’s going to enforce it? Congress? Stop wasting time on this crap that politicians will never be held to and spend money electing conservatives. Every dollar that goes for this kind of campaign is another dollar that is not being spent against Obama directly.

doufree on July 13, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Supposing for a nanosecond that the BBA had a chance of getting through, a deceitful and vicious President could abuse it in many ways if it didn’t include additional provisos ala Jim DeMint’s CutCapBalance plan.

Putting a law in place that would force the termination of spending to maintain a balanced budget without such caveats would open the door to the same threats the President is issuing today; stop Social Security/Medicare/Military Pension payments. A defined heirarchy of precedent for what gets cut first must be included to restrict the false-choice fearmongering we are witnessing now.

Again, that’s all just so much wind given the unlikelihood of passing anything resembling a BBA.

Freelancer on July 13, 2011 at 3:11 PM

I like Warren Buffet’s idea: when the deficit or total spending for one year reaches X% of GDP, all sitting congressvarmints are thereby ineligible to run for re-election. And no waivers!

Akzed on July 13, 2011 at 3:03 PM

On second thought, that would be too disruptive. Only those who voted for that budget should be ineligible.

pedestrian on July 13, 2011 at 3:19 PM

supermajorities in both chambers to run a deficit, raise the debt ceiling, raise taxes or spend more than 18 percent of GDP.

Because thats done California so well…

ernesto on July 13, 2011 at 3:28 PM

Because thats done California so well…

ernesto on July 13, 2011 at 3:28 PM

California’s problem is partly because it requires a supermajority just to pass a budget, but a referendum is very easy.

pedestrian on July 13, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Update: On CNBC last week, Warren Buffett had a very good comment:

I could end the deficit in 5 minutes. You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP all sitting members of congress are ineligible for reelection.

That is a much better provision in the BBA than the national security escape clause.

pedestrian on July 13, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Except that our government would just redefine how the deficit or GDP is calculated. Don’t believe me? What’s our REAL unemployment rate?

dominigan on July 13, 2011 at 3:55 PM

Except that our government would just redefine how the deficit or GDP is calculated. Don’t believe me? What’s our REAL unemployment rate?

dominigan on July 13, 2011 at 3:55 PM

Agreed, Buffet’s proposal is just a start. I don’t like the 18% number in the Constitution either. Just a simple one vote for a deficit budget and you are out.

pedestrian on July 13, 2011 at 4:25 PM

I like Warren Buffet’s idea: when the deficit or total spending for one year reaches X% of GDP, all sitting congressvarmints are thereby ineligible to run for re-election. And no waivers!

Akzed on July 13, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Seiously, in any corporation when the losses (or deficits) reach such a catastrophic level, all bonuses are zeroed, at all levels. In our federal government meanwhile, bonuses continue to be paid. Merrily along…

slickwillie2001 on July 13, 2011 at 4:32 PM

Suppose the Balanced Budget Amendment somehow is passed:

1) What is the penalty for non-compliance? Is it the same penalty for the Senate violating the law by not passing a budget?

2) 18% as a cap is also 18% as a floor. Spending will never fall below 18% as long as it is legal to be there. (Section 2)

3) As stated above – what is the permanent definition of “economic output”? GDP? GNP? GNP plus/minus Balance of Payments? GDP minus public indebtedness? etc. etc. (Section 2)

4) What is a “declaration of war”? Seems to me there is some dispute over that, and not just related to Libya. Does enabling legislation for a military campaign count as a declaration of war? Past Presidents have thought so; our current President does not. (Section 6)

I appreciate and am wholly sympathetic to the goals of the BBA, but this is a sloppy job of it. This version will create more problems than it will solve.

Finally, even if a Balanced Budget Amendment is passed and is somehow reasonably adhered to, its application will most likely be an across-the-board cutting to bring the budget into compliance. How is that different from the “zero-tolerance” mental processes that we have all come to know and loathe?

No, I cannot support this.

ss396 on July 13, 2011 at 7:59 PM

Remember, a BBA in any form requires a 2/3 vote of BOTH House and Senate. That is 290 votes in the House and 67 in the Senate. It’s not of those present, but of the seats filled – if a Senate seat is legally vacant, the requirement drops to 66; in the House two seats would have to be vacant to reduce the magic number to 289.

How many bills get that many votes? It will take a fair number of Democrats and all the Republicans in both bodies, assuming all our people are for it. Considering that very few moderate Democrats are left in Congress (like, um, none), this seems a high bar to set. You might get Ben Nelson in the Senate, perhaps Lieberman but he’s doubtful.

IF you can do that, you need 38 states to ratify it within the prescribed period, usually seven years. Again, the blue states don’t want it.

The bar is high for a reason, but it is a good thing to push it every decade or so anyway.

I don’t see the point of including it as part of any deal with the President, as he has no role in Amendments at all.

Adjoran on July 14, 2011 at 1:35 AM