Some House Republicans are expressing renewed confidence that the push for a balanced-budget constitutional amendment will gain real steam in the 112th Congress — aided by the newly elected crop of budget-slashing GOP freshmen. 

"We're very optimistic that we'll be able to get a vote on this at some point," said Rep. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteBottom line No documents? Hoping for legalization? Be wary of Joe Biden Press: Trump's final presidential pardon: himself MORE (R-Va.), who has introduced two separate balanced-budget amendment measures. 

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The bill garnering the most support is House Joint Resolution 2, which Goodlatte said mirrors the balanced-budget amendment in former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's Contract With America. It's essentially the same bill that passed the House in 1995 and came within one vote of getting through the Senate. 

"Right now I'm just in the process of signing up as many co-sponsors as I can," said Goodlatte, who noted that he hasn't yet spoken to the Republican leadership about moving the measure to the floor. "There's such great support for this both outside and within the Congress, that I anticipate we can move it."

Goodlatte has already signed on 137 co-sponsors, including one House Democrat — Rep. Jim MathesonJames (Jim) David MathesonMcAdams concedes to Owens in competitive Utah district Trump EPA eases standards for coal ash disposal Utah redistricting reform measure likely to qualify for ballot MORE (Utah) — and he said both Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerGOP struggles to rein in nativism Former GOP lawmaker calls idea of 'America First' caucus 'racism in a jar' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - All US adults can get vaccine; decision Friday on J&J vax MORE (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorWhite House says bills are bipartisan even if GOP doesn't vote for them Trump the X-factor in Virginia governor race Conservative House Republican welcomes Clark as chief of US Chamber MORE (R-Va.) have supported his push for a balanced-budget amendment in the past. 

Ready to aid Goodlatte's effort is the new class of Republican freshmen, many of whom have Tea Party activists looking over their shoulder ahead of 2012 as they cast their first votes and set priorities for the new Congress. 

"You have a host of new Republican freshmen who were sent here with a mandate for a balanced budget," said Rep. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzCongress's latest hacking investigation should model its most recent Fox News Audio expands stable of podcasts by adding five new shows The myth of the conservative bestseller MORE (R-Utah), one of the co-sponsors of Goodlatte's bill. "When I was sent here, it was with a mandate for a balanced budget. So I think it's time we act on that."  

Chaffetz, who has made noise about a potential primary challenge to Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchPress: Forget bipartisanship — it's dead! Privatization of foster care has been a disaster for children Remembering Ted Kennedy highlights decline of the Senate MORE (R-Utah) in 2012, said he expects the new class of Republican lawmakers to be instrumental in helping push the measure forward.  

One way it could get done, Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard Paul15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Anti-Asian hate crimes bill overcomes first Senate hurdle MORE (R-Ky.) said on Fox News Sunday, is tying a balanced-budget rule to any agreement by Republicans to raise the debt ceiling. 

"I can't imagine voting to raise the debt ceiling unless we're going to change our ways in Washington," Paul said. "I am proposing that we link to raising the debt ceiling — that we link a balanced budget rule, an ironclad rule that they can't evade." 

Not a bad idea, suggested Chaffetz, who said, "I think we need to be moving in that direction." 

The Utah Republican said that while most people understand that raising the debt ceiling is a must at some point, "if it's not tied to dramatic reductions in spending and the eventuality of balancing the budget, we probably shouldn't do it."  

"I have a very similar feeling," said Rep. Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarGOP struggles to rein in nativism Former GOP lawmaker calls idea of 'America First' caucus 'racism in a jar' Republicans fret over divisive candidates MORE (Ariz.), the Tea Party-backed Republican who defeated Democrat Ann KirkpatrickAnn KirkpatrickSurgeon who treated Gabby Giffords after shooting launches House bid in Arizona These House lawmakers aren't seeking reelection in 2022 Arizona state senator announces bid for Kirkpatrick's seat MORE in November. "I need to see some real benchmarks."   

Gosar noted he heard plenty of talk on the campaign trail from voters eager for a balanced-budget amendment. 

"It's a very popular idea simply because people don't trust politicians to do the things they say they're going to do," said Mark Meckler, head of the group Tea Party Patriots. "So they're looking for something to tie their hands." 

Meckler said a push forward on a balanced-budget amendment would thrill most Tea Party activists.   

Another freshman on board with the idea is Rep. Scott RigellScott RigellSpanberger's GOP challenger raises over .8 million in third quarter Ex-Rep. Scott Taylor to seek old Virginia seat GOP rushes to embrace Trump MORE (R-Va.), who defeated Democrat Glenn Nye in November. While talk of the economy and the deficit were omnipresent on the campaign trail, Rigell said there wasn't a single town-hall meeting in which voters didn't specifically call for a balanced-budget amendment. 

"To say that the fiscal path we're on right now is unsustainable understates the gravity of what we're facing," said Rigell. "As we move forward, I think there will increasingly be a linkage between Republican willingness to sign on to a debt increase and substantive efforts to reduce the deficit. Ideally, this very bill." 

Goodlatte said while it's "too early to be telegraphing our demands," the tying of a balanced-budget amendment to the debt-ceiling measure "could certainly go a long way in assuring members that Congress is truly serious about addressing the deficit."