The Senate on Wednesday defeated each partys version of a constitutional amendment that would have required a balanced federal budget.

The rival proposals would have prohibited Congress from spending more each year than it receives in revenue.

ADVERTISEMENT
But each one fell well short of the two-thirds majority needed to send them to the states for ratification.

Republicans of every stripe, from Tea Party favorite Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHouse bill set to reignite debate on warrantless surveillance Authorizing military force is necessary, but insufficient GOP feuds with outside group over analysis of tax framework MORE (Ky.) to centrist Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine), came down to the floor throughout Tuesday and Wednesday to express support for Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchGOP eyes limits on investor tax break Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Overnight Finance: White House requests B for disaster relief | Ex-Equifax chief grilled over stock sales | House panel approves B for border wall | Tax plan puts swing-state Republicans in tough spot MOREs (R-Utah) plan, arguing it represented the last chance to keep the United States from falling into the sort of crisis in which Europe is currently embroiled.  

We must prevent what’s happening in Europe from happening here, said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-Ky.) prior to the party-line 47-53 defeat of the GOP bill. That’s just what our balanced-budget proposal would do.

Although both proposals possessed characteristics associated with balanced-budget amendments, they differed by including rules regarding taxation designed to alienate members across the aisle.

The Democratic proposal, S.J.Res 24, would have prohibited Congress from lowering taxes on millionaires and would have created a lock box for the Social Security Trust Fund.


More from The Hill
♦ Health law’s backers launch online ‘Obamacare’ game
♦ Gingrich signs ‘personhood’ pledge
♦ CDC: 2.5M more young people covered under healthcare law
♦ McConnell blocks Senate vote on House payroll tax package
John BoehnerJohn Andrew Boehner‘Lone wolf’ characterization of mass murderers is the epitome of white privilege Pelosi urges Ryan to create select committee on gun violence Ex-congressman Michael Grimm formally announces bid for old seat MORE-to-senate-its-time-to-act" mce_href="http://thehill.com/homenews/house/199305-boehner-to-senate-its-time-to-act"> ♦ Boehner pushes Senate to act on House payroll tax extension
♦ Video: Jill Biden says her husband would be ‘a great president’
♦ Nuke commission: Chairman abused staff, withheld info
♦ GOP slams Obama on Iraq, Afghanistan


Republicans dismissed it, prior to its 21-79 defeat, as a “cover” to allow Democrats to say they supported a balanced-budget amendment when they did not. 

It is a “weak alternative to the Republicans’ amendment,” concluded Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).

The Republicans’ plan, S.J.Res.10, meanwhile, drew fire from Democrats for its provision to ban Congress from raising taxes without a two-thirds majority and for attempting to implement a cap on government spending of 18 percent of the gross domestic product.

Democrats said those riders turned the amendment into an unpalatable political document. 

“Balancing the books is a simple equation, yet Sen. Hatch’s proposal goes a number of steps further and seemingly tries to shrink government altogether,” said Sen. Mark UdallMark UdallDemocratic primary could upend bid for Colorado seat Picking 2018 candidates pits McConnell vs. GOP groups Gorsuch's critics, running out of arguments, falsely scream 'sexist' MORE (Colo.), the author of the Democratic plan. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Several Democrats also voted against both bills, decrying the attempts to tamper with the Constitution over budgetary matters.

“I have never seen the solemn duty of protecting the Constitution treated in such a cavalier manner as it is today,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyOvernight Regulation: Massachusetts AG sues Equifax | Trump weighs easing rules on gun exports | EPA nominee to fight worker safety rule in court Trump to ease rules on gun exports: report Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions MORE (D-Vt.). “I wish those who so often say they revere the Constitution would show it the respect it deserves rather than treating it like a blog entry.”

The votes were called by Democratic leadership to fulfill the mandate from the summer’s debt-ceiling accords that both chambers debate and vote on a balanced-budget amendment.

The House in November voted 261-165 for a version of the amendment — a clear majority, but also short of the two-thirds needed to send the amendment to the states for ratification. The amendment was supported by 236 Republicans and 25 Democrats, while four Republicans and 161 Democrats opposed it.