GOP senators introduce balanced budget amendment

Two Republican senators introduced a constitutional amendment requiring Congress to pass a balanced budget, they announced Wednesday.

Sens. Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and Mike Lee (Utah) introduced on Tuesday a bill that would amend the Constitution to make it illegal for Congress to spend more than it collects in a fiscal year, raise taxes or increase the debt limit without support from two-thirds of both chambers of Congress.

Balanced budget amendments have been criticized for limiting Congress’s ability to fight off economic crises with emergency spending and stimulus.

The amendment would also bar Congress from spending more than 18 percent of the gross national product, which the senators say is the 40-year historical average of federal receipts. It also gives any federal lawmaker standing to sue Congress if the amendment isn’t enforced if that lawmaker is supported by one-third of the House or Senate.

{mosads}Grassley and Lee introduced the amendment Tuesday as the Congressional Budget Office projected federal deficits to increase in 2019 for the first time in a decade.

“It’s simple math: The federal government should not be spending more taxpayer money that it brings in,” said Grassley, who’s supported a balanced budget amendment since his House career decades ago. “Almost every state has adopted some form of a balanced budget requirement, and it’s past time that the federal government follows suit.”

“Hardworking Americans have been forced to bear the burden of Congress’ inability and unwillingness to control federal overspending,” said Lee. “As our federal debt continues to rise at an alarming rate, the least we can do is require the federal government to not spend more money than it has at its disposal.”

Several balanced budget amendments failed in both the House and Senate in 2011.

Tags Chuck Grassley Mike Lee

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