House advances bill forcing Obama to balance budget; Dems call it 'stupid'

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said the bill is stupid because it would start forcing cuts to government spending, which he said was the reason why U.S. GDP fell 0.1 percent in the last quarter of 2012.

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"The Republican response is to double down on the stupid," he said. "These Republican games of Russian roulette with the American economy must come to an end."

House Rules Committee ranking member Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) agreed and said requiring cuts to spending would hurt U.S. job growth.

"Is that a path the majority wants to walk down, because if they keep spending our time debating stupid legislation like this, we're going to find ourselves on that path before too long," she said.

"To call this a stupid piece of legislation, I think, really misses the point about what we're doing here," Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) replied. Woodall stressed several times that the bill asks the president to describe how the budget will ultimately balance, noting that none of Obama's budgets ever foresee a balance, even as far out as the year 2080.

Woodall said the would force Obama to back up his rhetoric, saying the president has promised deficit reduction but failed to deliver it. Woodall added that Obama's budget would not balance even if taxes went up as much as he wanted.

"If we give him every spending cut he asks for, if we give him every tax increase he asks for, if we do absolutely everything that the budget that he's required by law to submit requests, we will begin to pay down the first penny of debt never," he said.

Woodall insisted that it should not be controversial to demand a plan to balance the budget.

"It's not a stupid piece of legislation that we're dealing with today," he said. "What's almost laughably ridiculous is that it's controversial."

Democrats rejected these arguments and called the bill a "gimmick," the name many applied to a GOP bill passed in January that would withhold members' paychecks if the House or Senate fails to pass a budget.

"This is stupid legislation because it is not addressing the crisis," McGovern said. "It is doing nothing to advance the cause of trying to get to a solution."

The House was expected to start debating the bill Tuesday afternoon; it was going to work on amendments and finish the bill up on Wednesday.

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