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GOP lawmaker renews push for balanced budget amendment

GOP lawmaker renews push for balanced budget amendment
© Courtesy of Mark Green

Rep. Mark GreenMark GreenMy Constitutional amendment to stop the Democrats' 'bonehead idea' On The Money: COVID-19 relief bill on track for House passage, Biden signature Wednesday | First new checks to go out starting next week GOP lawmaker renews push for balanced budget amendment MORE (R-Tenn.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, re-introduced a constitutional amendment on Tuesday that would require Congress to balance the federal budget.

“America’s national debt now sits at over $28 trillion with no end in sight,” Green said in a statement. “This is a crippling burden that our children and grandchildren will shoulder, yet Congressional spending is out of control.”

Conservative lawmakers have been pushing for a balanced budget amendment since the mid-1990s.

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While the idea is dead on arrival in a Democratic-controlled Congress, centrist Blue Dog Democrats threw their support behind a modified version of the plan in 2019. That version would allow for deficit spending in recessions and times of emergency, reflecting the views of most economists.

Green’s amendment comes as Democrats advance a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, and are beginning discussions on a large scale infrastructure bill that could range anywhere from $1 trillion to $3 trillion.

But the GOP orthodoxy on deficits has been scrambled in recent years. Under former President TrumpDonald TrumpProject Veritas surveilled government officials to expose anti-Trump sentiments: report Cheney: Fox News has 'a particular obligation' to refute election fraud claims The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? MORE, Republicans passed a $1.9 trillion tax cut, and saw deficits rise to nearly $1 trillion. Last year, Republicans joined Democrats in approving some $4 trillion of deficit-financed COVID-19 relief.

Since Democrats retook control of Washington, there is a renewed GOP focus on the price tags associated with legislation.

Budget watchdogs agree that the federal government needs to address the deficit once the economic recovery becomes more robust and the coronavirus pandemic is under control.

The country’s debt burden is set to surpass its all time high within a decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

CBO projected this week that the deficit had surpassed $1 trillion in the first five months of the 2021 fiscal year.