The GOP’s Balanced Budget amendment is not as good as it may seem

Rep. Goodlatte proposed an amendment called the Balanced Budget amendment. Now, on its face, it seems like a great bill. It would enshrine into the Constitution the need for Congress to balance a budget. This means they only have the money they make to spend.

However, as Daniel Horowitz from The Conservative Review points out it is nowhere near as good as it sounds.

Section 4 of the amendment reads as follows: “No bill to increase revenue shall become law unless approved by a majority of the whole number of each House by a rollcall vote.”

Think about it: On the one hand, this would codify into the Constitution a requirement to balance the budget, but on the other hand, it allows taxes to be raised by just a simple majority vote! Republicans refuse to tinker with the Senate rules or even recent practice of requiring 60 votes in the Senate for spending cuts, but they will now codify language in the Constitution to raise taxes with just 51 vote – while under the gun to balance the budget. This would essentially lead to endless tax increases, because we know they will never cut spending. The balanced budget requirement would give them an easy excuse to raise taxes with a simple majority.

Even without the concern of tax increases, this particular amendment is a joke. Aside from the standard exception for a balancing the budget during times of war, the proposal allows three-fifths of Congress to waive the requirement for a balanced budget even during times of peace.

Guess what? The Senate just passed the omnibus bill with 65 votes, and the House was just shy of the three-fifths threshold (256-157). Undoubtedly, if 262 votes in the House would be the new 218 for budget bills, they would easily get a few more of the “hope yes, vote no” crowd to vote for it.

This is a good idea but is not properly flushed out. There should be no exemption at any time for them to increases spending unless in a time of war. During a time of war, Military spending should exceed what is needed. Domestic spending, however, should never exceed the amount they made through taxation and tariffs.


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