Senate rejects two competing versions of a balanced budget amendment

posted at 3:40 pm on December 14, 2011 by Tina Korbe

The beauty of the Republican Study Committee’s “Cut, Cap and Balance” program was that it made the passage of a balanced budget amendment in both the House and the Senate a condition for any increase in the debt ceiling. In contrast to that, the eventual watered-down deal clumsily engineered by the president and Republican leadership allowed an increase in the debt ceiling in exchange for the inaction of the Super Committee and a mere vote on a balanced budget amendment in both the House and the Senate.

The result has been predictable: Both the House and the Senate have now voted down the idea of a BBA. WaPo reports the action in the Senate today:

The Senate rejected two competing versions of a balanced-budget amendment on Wednesday, sending the proposals to defeat 14 years after the chamber fell one vote short of passing such a measure.

A Democratic plan by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) garnered only 21 “yes” votes, all from the Democratic side of the aisle. Seventy-nine Democrats and Republicans voted “no.”

A more conservative amendment proposed by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) won the backing of all Senate Republicans but got no Democratic support. It failed by 47 to 53.

As that excerpt suggests, not all balanced budget amendments are created equal. When the House voted against a clean balanced budget amendment, I was relieved — and actually irked at the Republicans who voted for it. Similarly, I’m pleased the Senate voted against Sen. Mark Udall’s plan for a balanced budget, which would likely also have led to tax hikes and enabled Congress to skirt spending cuts. Sen. Orrin Hatch’s proposal was far more sound and I’m disappointed — but not surprised — it failed the Democratic Senate.

But the failure of all three — no less than the failure of the Super Committee — underscores the ineffectuality of this summer’s debt ceiling deal. Whatever leaders on both sides of the aisle might say, the final package did virtually nothing to tame the debt and deficit. Now, interest in the issue has waned, as job creation and the presidential primaries have taken pride of place. But it is true this winter no less than it was true this summer: The debt crisis is inextricably intertwined with the jobs crisis. The electorate should still be watching and waiting for Washington to take action on the deficit and debt — and should be just as willing in 2012 as in 2010 to replace any politicians who don’t understand the gravity of the issue.

Update: The Heritage Foundation reminds us that a Balanced Budget Amendment alone would not solve the nation’s fiscal travails. Entitlement reform — a program the Super Committee should have at least started — is also unquestionably necessary.


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Of course they did it had the word “budget” in it… the democrats are opposed to passing it on principle

Achele175 on December 14, 2011 at 3:44 PM

How can we blame this on Bush?

Del Dolemonte on December 14, 2011 at 3:45 PM

be just as willing in 2012 as in 2010 to replace any politicians who don’t understand the gravity of the issue.

hear hear TK

but then we see the polls where a majority of folks like their reps/sen despite all their anger towards congress…

cmsinaz on December 14, 2011 at 3:47 PM

So what HAS the Senate done this year? Anyone?

Meric1837 on December 14, 2011 at 3:47 PM

Thankfully, we have Obama to lead us out of this malaise.

SlaveDog on December 14, 2011 at 3:48 PM

I’m getting really tired of the GOP-controlled Congress knocking down all of PBHO’s nation saving plans.

Bishop on December 14, 2011 at 3:48 PM

Cut the Crap and Balance ! How long do these losers think they can keep this up ?

Lucano on December 14, 2011 at 3:48 PM

Alex, I will take “What is April 27, 2009″ for $600..

hillsoftx on December 14, 2011 at 3:50 PM

Do we really want to go the way of Europe?

Chip on December 14, 2011 at 3:50 PM

Spending limits are so draconian.

antipc on December 14, 2011 at 3:51 PM

So what HAS the Senate done this year? Anyone?

Hey now, the senate did a really important job this year. Thanks to them we know without a shadow of a doubt that every single chair in the senate can hold the weight of a full grown man. And they even did it without forming a subcommittee. I’m very impressed.

Cyhort on December 14, 2011 at 3:52 PM

How can we blame this on Bush?

Del Dolemonte on December 14, 2011 at 3:45 PM

That’s easy when you have the national media on the side of the Socialists.

Chip on December 14, 2011 at 3:52 PM

The sky is going to have to fall. Until we find ourselves in absolute Dire Straights nothing is going to be done. I’m so frustrated that they can’t get something…anything done to tame the out of control spending.

buckeyerich on December 14, 2011 at 3:54 PM

So what HAS the Senate done this year? Anyone?

Made some killer stock trades using inside information…Legal for the Senate Elite, but not for you and me.

That kinda sums it up.

Robert Jensen on December 14, 2011 at 3:54 PM

Either we will run out of can or road.

I forsee can subsidies and road grants.

RAGIN CAJUN on December 14, 2011 at 3:55 PM

In many ways the idea of a balanced budget only justifies mass spending and heavy taxation/borrowing by the government because the budget could still be whatever trillion and then they would have to “balance it”

J.S. Kline on December 14, 2011 at 3:55 PM

If Republicans controll it in 2013, does anyone expect them to give up the power of the unballanced budget?

Constitutional historian of conservative values on December 14, 2011 at 3:56 PM

I’m not necessarily advocating a clean BBA, but even if a clean one passed, and they raised taxes and slashed defense, they’d still need to cut entitlements by a trillion a year. Even Dems couldn’t/wouldn’t raise taxes by more than a couple hundred billion a year, nor cut defense by several hundred billion a year. You’d still need to cut a trillion more.

TheRabbi on December 14, 2011 at 3:57 PM

Of course they didn’t it had the word “budget” in it… the democrats are opposed to passing it on principle

Achele175 on December 14, 2011 at 3:44 PM

FFM

Achele175 on December 14, 2011 at 3:57 PM

Its been a great week for the media to keep their heads in the sand while their meme about the do-nothing-republicans is destroyed. At least they will be able to nit-pick the debate tomorrow in an effort to take the public’s eye off the ball.

Bensonofben on December 14, 2011 at 3:59 PM

a Balanced Budget Amendment alone would not solve the nation’s fiscal travails. Entitlement reform is also unquestionably necessary.

A BBA would force entitlement reform in short order. Everyone knows that which is why they vote against it. They think it’s the last vote they’ll ever cast.

Odysseus on December 14, 2011 at 3:59 PM

From the link below: the Obama administration is alerting employees to the possibility of a government shutdown if talks on bills to fund the government and extend the payroll tax cut collapse later this week.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/post/government-shutdown-preparations-begin-as-funding-talks-stall/2011/12/14/gIQATZyNuO_blog.html?tid=sm_twitter_postlocal

Obama is one hec of a leader! I really loathe these people.

FLconservative on December 14, 2011 at 3:59 PM

Harry Reid, ladies & gentlemen…..

Budgets? We don’t need no stinkin’ budgets!

ICanSeeNovFromMyHouse on December 14, 2011 at 3:59 PM

Rome is still BURNING!!!!!!

D-fusit on December 14, 2011 at 4:00 PM

A balanced budget is anathema to the socialist state. The state which cannot spend to excess, cannot sustain its all things to all people appearance.

Our nation is on the brink of disaster, especially when half of the voters know, or should know, that Obama is a communist, and will vote for him precisely for that reason.

OhEssYouCowboys on December 14, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Spending cuts are racist.

search4truth on December 14, 2011 at 4:01 PM

hillsoftx on December 14, 2011 at 3:50 PM

Date the last was passed. ding ding!

Alex, I’ll take “What is $4 trillion dollars?” for $800.

DanMan on December 14, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Barbara Boxer:

“A balanced budget will kill people. Exactly, 8,106 per year – to be exact.”

OhEssYouCowboys on December 14, 2011 at 4:03 PM

In many ways the idea of a balanced budget only justifies mass spending and heavy taxation/borrowing by the government because the budget could still be whatever trillion and then they would have to “balance it”

J.S. Kline on December 14, 2011 at 3:55 PM

While that is true for the so-called “clean” BBA that the House voted on, others that have been proposed also feature a cap on spending of around 18% of GDP. That eliminates the “mass spending” problem. I believe the Orrin Hatch bill had such a provision.

Odysseus on December 14, 2011 at 4:03 PM

meh, like Harry Reid, I guess I refused to utter the word budget up there…

DanMan on December 14, 2011 at 4:04 PM

The US Senate – taking lessons from the “I can’t be overdrawn I still have some checks” school of finance.

Embarrassing. For the umpteenth time, where are the friggin’ adults?

ICanSeeNovFromMyHouse on December 14, 2011 at 4:05 PM

Barbara Boxer:

“A balanced budget will kill people. Exactly, 8,106 per year – to be exact.”

OhEssYouCowboys on December 14, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Makes sense. 1 Million abortions/year…$15 trillion in debt. Back to you Babs.

DanMan on December 14, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Dems should not have any problem with a BBA….as long as it does not cap spending. They always have so much fun raising taxes and spending twice as much as they collect. Those rascally Republicans, dastardly as they are, always try to ruin their fun.

NOMOBO on December 14, 2011 at 4:09 PM

The only “balance” for any budget is the People saying “No more.”

For as long as the People simply “bleat,” with every trillion dollar increase to the deficit and debt, nothing will change.

When the People are sheep, there is no restraint on the State. In the end, the People are to blame for this mess.

OhEssYouCowboys on December 14, 2011 at 4:09 PM

Big deal. We owe it to ourselves.

Akzed on December 14, 2011 at 4:13 PM

I’m getting really tired of the GOP-controlled Congress knocking down all of PBHO’s nation saving plans.

Bishop on December 14, 2011 at 3:48 PM

What GOP-controlled Congress? The current Congress is split between a Republican-controlled House and a Democrat-controlled Senate.

To get a GOP-controlled Congress, we need another election, and even then the Dems can still filibuster, but with a Republican majority in the Senate, at least McConnell can get useful bills on the agenda to be voted.

To get anything done, we’ll also need a Republican President, and we need another election.

2012 is the answer. Can we get the votes?

Steve Z on December 14, 2011 at 4:14 PM

We get this morning talk show guy out west of Ft.Worth/Dallas on A.M. KLIF 570, he has this deal http://www.blowoutcongress.com .

What do the posters here know of that wed site and what do you think of the idea in general.

Question from a newbe.

thanks

APACHEWHOKNOWS on December 14, 2011 at 4:17 PM

Good. Leave the Constitution alone (except to repeal amendments). A balanced budget amendment is fool’s gold. Would you rather have an unbalanced $1 trillion budget or a balanced $5 trillion budget?

Dante on December 14, 2011 at 4:17 PM

While that is true for the so-called “clean” BBA that the House voted on, others that have been proposed also feature a cap on spending of around 18% of GDP. That eliminates the “mass spending” problem. I believe the Orrin Hatch bill had such a provision.

Odysseus on December 14, 2011 at 4:03 PM

True.

But even a spending/GDP formula does not, in itself, does not reduce the size and scope of government. They always have an out. There is always the possibility that GDP is so large that 18% is a huge amount.

Even Republicans in D.C. can’t commit themselves to spending less.

J.S. Kline on December 14, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Bush lied about how bad this mess was. A balanced budget amendment is just a talking point for the republicans. It won’t do anything to solve the problem.
You cannot blame Obama for stepping in and trying to clean up the republican’s mess. Rome was not built in one day.

BedBug on December 14, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Name me one of these jokers who cares if the national budget is balanced. As long as they’re getting the lobbyist money there won’t be significant cuts anywhere. The “balancing” is going to be done via Bernanke’s Xerox. Investors: Stocks in paper manufacturers should go up accordingly.

TXGOP on December 14, 2011 at 4:19 PM

So what HAS the Senate done this year? Anyone?

Meric1837 on December 14, 2011 at 3:47 PM

Not a whole lot. But since the Republicans have enough votes to filibuster Reid, maybe that’s a GOOD thing, compared to what the Senate did in 2009-2010.

Standing still is frustrating, but it beats jumping off cliffs.

Steve Z on December 14, 2011 at 4:21 PM

A balanced budget amendment is just a talking point for the republicans. It won’t do anything to solve the problem.BedBug on December 14, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Yeah, spending the same amount of money that you take in won’t solve any of the problems we face.

Economics Fail.

search4truth on December 14, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Cut the Crap and Balance ! How long do these losers think they can keep this up ?

Lucano on December 14, 2011 at 3:48 PM

All the way until China NUKES us for non-payment of interest on the debt!!! It won’t matter after that because they all have the money from all their years in office to get those personalized nuclear safety bunkers built before the SHTF.

RedLizard64 on December 14, 2011 at 4:22 PM

I don’t need no stinkin’ BBA to balance my budget. The funny looking people in dark clothes, shiny badges, and funny flashin’ lights on their cars do that better than any BBA ever could…. Maybe if we made the law apply to our socialist leaders, they may be inclined to balance the budget? JUST thinkin’….

Turtle317 on December 14, 2011 at 4:23 PM

Dante on December 14, 2011 at 4:17 PM

What difference does it make…without CAPPING, after 5 years its about the same anyhow!

RedLizard64 on December 14, 2011 at 4:30 PM

But even a spending/GDP formula does not, in itself, does not reduce the size and scope of government. They always have an out. There is always the possibility that GDP is so large that 18% is a huge amount.

Even Republicans in D.C. can’t commit themselves to spending less.

J.S. Kline on December 14, 2011 at 4:18 PM

A budget/GDP ratio limit will always be ineffective. Since budgets are (or should be) voted on for a FUTURE fiscal year, Congress can always rely on a rosy CBO projection for 4 or 5% GDP growth in the coming fiscal year to justify a spending increase.

The best way to balance the budget (eventually) is not by amending the Constitution, but by a committed Congress voting to cut spending across-the-board by (say) 25% of the previous year’s deficit IN ABSOLUTE DOLLARS for the coming fiscal year, without raising tax rates. With economic growth and inflation, tax revenues will inevitably rise, causing the deficit to close faster than 25% per year. Once a balanced budget is obtained, THEN amend the Constitution to keep it that way.

Steve Z on December 14, 2011 at 4:33 PM

Unbelievable. I just don’t understand the logic?

Major Infidel on December 14, 2011 at 4:38 PM

Steve Z on December 14, 2011 at 4:33 PM

good ideas.

they could also take a look at the Constitution and then approve spending proposals based on their Constitutional authority to do so.

J.S. Kline on December 14, 2011 at 4:41 PM

“The electorate should still be watching and waiting for Washington to take action on the deficit and debt —…”

We can’t have THAT now…

… can we?

/

Seven Percent Solution on December 14, 2011 at 4:44 PM

Predictable…Congress Critters would never willingly give up their power to waste the peoples’ money as they see fit!

Certainly there are good BBA’s and bad BBA’s, but until someone in Congress can actually utter the words “balanced budget” without having heart palpitations and cold sweats, this nation’s finances will continue to circle-the-drain…

powerpickle on December 14, 2011 at 4:46 PM

This is a dog bites man story.

A balanced budget amendment would strip Congress of perhaps 50-75 percent of their power and that isn’t going to happen.

There is one other alternative and that is the States can propose an amendment. I think that’s the only realistic path and even then Republicans would need to have the govenorships of the required number of states to approve it because there is no way the Democrats will give up the gravy train they’ve created for themselves.

BMF on December 14, 2011 at 4:47 PM

Contessa Brewer wants to know if either branch of Congress has a degree in finance or economics.

BacaDog on December 14, 2011 at 4:47 PM

So what HAS the Senate done this year? Anyone?

Meric1837 on December 14, 2011 at 3:47 PM

So what HAS the Senate done this year? Anyone?Bueller?

FIFY!!!

belad on December 14, 2011 at 4:52 PM

Bush lied about how bad this mess was. A balanced budget amendment is just a talking point for the republicans. It won’t do anything to solve the problem.
You cannot blame Obama for stepping in and trying to clean up the republican’s mess. Rome was not built in one day.

BedBug on December 14, 2011 at 4:18 PM

..oh, snore! BBA won’t solve the spending problem? You better get your head out of that paper mache dummy, old son, stop crapping on cop cars, and take a few whiffs of fresh air.

And, yes, we can blame Obama. With the help of his cronies in the Congress in 2009-2010, he’s launched us over a financial cliff and is spending the remainder of his term blaming everyone and everything is sight in an effort of weasling out respionsible for the mess he’s “inherited”/exacerbated. Just Sunday he admitted on 60 minutes that (1) he was unable to solve the problem, (2) will be unable to solve the problem in his next term, and (3) attempted to lay the blame at the feet of his successor.

Stuff your Rome, troll.

The War Planner on December 14, 2011 at 4:56 PM

I’m getting really tired of the GOP-controlled Congress knocking down all of PBHO’s nation saving plans.

Bishop on December 14, 2011 at 3:48 PM

What GOP-controlled Congress? The current Congress is split between a Republican-controlled House and a Democrat-controlled Senate.

Steve Z on December 14, 2011 at 4:14 PM

This is why I love ‘Open Registration’…

/

Seven Percent Solution on December 14, 2011 at 5:03 PM

Bush lied about how bad this mess was. A balanced budget amendment is just a talking point for the republicans. It won’t do anything to solve the problem.
You cannot blame Obama for stepping in and trying to clean up the republican’s mess. Rome was not built in one day.

BedBug on December 14, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Riiiight. And unemployment hasn’t gone up under Obama either. Right Debbie?

Oldnuke on December 14, 2011 at 5:03 PM

Only a Democrat President could ever tackle entitlement reforms… a Conservative will get destroyed with epic street protests the likes that would make the Vietnam protests look like a successful Girl Scout bake sale.

HopeHeFails on December 14, 2011 at 5:12 PM

Congress in recess is the best situation for us citizens. Gridlock, where they can do no further damage is the next best option. Controlling both the House and Senate completely is the only way to unravel the harm that’s been done to us and our country in the past sevarl terms.

In my opinion, the House and Senate races are even more important than the presidential race for us in 2012.

jb34461 on December 14, 2011 at 5:15 PM

Congress DO something? That would be, to quote a phrase from Barry, “Historic”.

GarandFan on December 14, 2011 at 5:29 PM

Bush lied about how bad this mess was. A balanced budget amendment is just a talking point for the republicans. It won’t do anything to solve the problem.
You cannot blame Obama for stepping in and trying to clean up the republican’s mess. Rome was not built in one day.

BedBug

Your name fits you perfectly…another blood sucking parasite.

Gothguy on December 14, 2011 at 5:53 PM

But even a spending/GDP formula does not, in itself, does not reduce the size and scope of government. They always have an out. There is always the possibility that GDP is so large that 18% is a huge amount.

Even Republicans in D.C. can’t commit themselves to spending less.

J.S. Kline on December 14, 2011 at 4:18 PM

True and true, but it does keep government from overtaking private business in the economy. If Congress wants to spend more, then they will have to take the appropriate steps to grow the economy to that level. That works out well for all of us.

The best way to balance the budget (eventually) is not by amending the Constitution, but by a committed Congress voting to cut spending across-the-board by (say) 25% of the previous year’s deficit IN ABSOLUTE DOLLARS for the coming fiscal year, without raising tax rates. With economic growth and inflation, tax revenues will inevitably rise, causing the deficit to close faster than 25% per year. Once a balanced budget is obtained, THEN amend the Constitution to keep it that way.

Steve Z on December 14, 2011 at 4:33 PM

Ha, ha, ha. Where’s your /sarc tag? Because I know you can’t be serious with that.

Odysseus on December 14, 2011 at 6:24 PM

The White House statement opposing the GOP Amendment has a stunning admission – that tax hikes hurt employment.

http://www.examiner.com/conservative-in-spokane/senate-defeats-two-balanced-budget-amendments-to-the-constitution

jdawg on December 14, 2011 at 10:41 PM

Let’s see…

Restrain spending? God forbid!

Raise taxes? And kill any chance at a recovery? Nope!

Balanced budget amendment? Nope, too draconian!

Oh I know what these idiots will do! Spend more!

Yeaaaahhhhh!!!! Now, dontchya feel better!

/

insidiator on December 15, 2011 at 8:39 AM

The Democrats couldn’t pass a balanced budget when they had control of the House and the Senate.

The Democrats in the recent Super Committee admitted that never could agree on a plan to bring to the table themselves.

It is not hard to be surprised by the lack of Democrats voting on a sound proposal of their own let alone one sent up from the House.

Notice the pattern of the failed financial world the Democrats have shaped since they took the White House and even before with Fannie and Freddie.

It’s not about the people, its about their power.

plutorocks on December 15, 2011 at 9:18 AM

A balanced budget amendment has no power when Congress does not pass a budget for 2 years.

MTinMN on December 15, 2011 at 10:42 AM

YES! Cut Crap and Balance!

Dandapani on December 18, 2011 at 11:32 AM