- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
House defeats balanced budget amendment
The House on Friday rejected a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, falling well short of the two-thirds vote required and signaling a striking slide since the amendment’s high point in the 1990s.
The failed vote came two days after the Treasury Department announced the federal debt had topped $15 trillion for the first time in history. But Republicans could not win over enough Democrats, who said they don’t trust the GOP to consider tax increases as part of a balanced budget solution.
“This vote should not have been about politics. It should have been about what is right for our nation,” said Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte, the Virginia Republican who led the floor debate, after the 261-165 vote. That left the amendment more than 20 shy of the 284 votes that would have been needed to clear the lower chamber.
But Friday’s tally does show just how much the amendment has slipped down the list of priorities. In 1995, it won 300 votes overall, including support from 72 Democrats. This time, it won just 25 Democrats.
Just as striking, of the 11 Democrats who voted for the 1995 amendment and are still in the House, eight of them voted against it this time, including party leaders Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland and James E. Clyburn of South Carolina.
One Republican, Rep. David Dreier of California, switched from his 1995 vote to now oppose the amendment, too. He said history has shown an amendment isn’t needed.
“I believed in 1995 when I cast that vote, January of 1995, in favor of the balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, that it was the only way we would be able to achieve a balanced budget. I was wrong. Two short years later, we balanced the federal budget,” said Rep. David Dreier, California Republican.
He was joined by three other Republicans who also voted against the amendment Friday.
But other lawmakers said the last 10 years have shown Washington cannot control itself.
“We need limits. We need to be forced to make tough decisions,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat who bucked most of his party to back the amendment.
At one point the balanced budget amendment was the most likely to win approval of Congress, be ratified by the states and earn a place as the 28th amendment. In 1995 it passed the House with 300 votes, and a year later came within one vote of passing the Senate, which would have sent it to the states for ratification.
The federal budget has only been in balance for five of the last 50 years, and in three of those years it was only balanced by taking money from government trust funds such as the one that’s supposed to be saving for future Social Security beneficiaries.
Friday’s amendment would require that annual spending be limited to annual revenue, with the exception of interest payments. It would require a three-fifths vote of each chamber to break the cap. The amendment would also require a three-fifths vote to raise the debt limit.
Under a deal struck this summer, the Senate will vote later this year on its own version of a balanced budget amendment, but that, too, is expected to fail.
Tempers ran high at some points during the House floor debate, including when Rep. John Fleming, Louisiana Republican, compared Congress’s penchant for spending to a drug addition.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Federal deficit shrinks 20 percent in fiscal 2014
- Wind farms: Interior Department sacrifices eagle protection for alternative energy
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- Bipartisan House votes against 'patent trolls' who file lawsuits against innovators
- Bipartisan House votes to stop patent 'trolls'
Latest Blog Entries
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
- WOLF: The president's other Obamacare lies
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Richard Ivory, editor-in-chief of Hip Hop Republicans and HHR at Communities Digital News, turns his interests, and pen, to the people making news today.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow