Rep. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteNo documents? Hoping for legalization? Be wary of Joe Biden Press: Trump's final presidential pardon: himself USCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction MORE (R-Va.) said Wednesday morning that Republicans almost have enough votes to pass a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution this week, but are not quite at the 290-vote mark needed for passage.

"It is definitely a steep hill to climb to get two-thirds of the members of the House," Goodlatte said on C-SPAN. "We're close, but we're not there yet."


House Republicans are expected to bring up Goodlatte's balanced-budget amendment, H.J.Res. 2, on Friday, and will need nearly 50 Democrats to join Republicans to pass it. Goodlatte said 50 would be needed if a few Republicans vote against it, but did not say explicitly how many Republicans he expects to oppose the bill.

Goodlatte said H.J.Res. 2 was chosen as the amendment to vote on because it clearly has more bipartisan support than another of his proposals, which would cap federal spending at 18 percent of GDP and require a supermajority in the House and Senate in order to raise taxes.

"I told my colleagues that I thought that the best approach was to take the amendment that had the greatest chance of passage and was still a strong amendment," Goodlatte said. H.J.Res. 2 has more than a dozen Democratic co-sponsors, while the tougher version, H.J.Res. 1, had just one Democratic co-sponsor.

Goodlatte said H.J.Res. 2 is essentially the same amendment that the House approved in 1996 with 300 votes, and failed in the Senate by a single vote.

"This is a good, strong amendment, it's proven because it's passed the House before, come close in the Senate," he said. "And the members overwhelmingly agreed that they wanted to try to do something rather than simply make a statement about the amendment that they preferred the most, knowing that that amendment has no chance of passage now and unlikely will ever have a chance of passage, simply because it doesn't draw the kind of bipartisan support that's necessary for a constitutional amendment."

The Obama administration on Tuesday said it "strongly opposes" the amendment, and said an amendment is not needed "to do the job of restoring fiscal discipline." The administration did not say it would veto the amendment, because it has no say over constitutional amendments — passage of the amendment by a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate would sent it to the states for ratification.