House approves rule for 'cut, cap and balance' bill

Democrats opposed the rule early in the debate by saying it's a closed rule allowing no amendments to a bill that would make radical changes to the way the government taxes and spends.

"Here we are today considering legislation that would fundamentally transform the United States economy, gut many of the programs like Social Security and Medicare that millions of Americans rely upon, and make radical changes to the Constitution, and the Republican majority of the Rules Committee has brought it to the floor under a closed rule," said Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.). "No hearings, no witness, no markups, no nothing."

The bill cuts 2012 spending, caps spending through 2021 and would prohibit new borrowing until Congress passes a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. McGovern said this last requirement would unfairly require a two-thirds vote to raise taxes.

"Under this bill, Congress would need a mere majority to slash Medicare, but would need a supermajority to close a loophole that gives preferential treatment to owners of corporate jets," he said.

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