Senate Republicans Unveil Balanced Budget Amendment

Senate Republicans are introducing today a “consensus Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution that would mandate a balanced federal budget,” according to a press release from the office of Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE).

Per the release, this amendment would:

  • Require the President to submit to Congress a balanced budget that limits outlays to 18 percent of GDP.
  • Require Congress to pass a balanced budget and limit federal outlays to 18 percent of GDP.
    • Exceptions include:
      1. Both houses by a two-thirds vote can provide for a specific excess
      2. Both houses by a majority vote can provide for a specific excess during a declared war;
      3. Both houses by a three-fifths vote can provide for a specific excess for a fiscal year during a military conflict declared to be "an imminent and serious military threat to national security" and the excess be limited to "outlays…made necessary by the identified conflict."
  • Require a two-thirds vote from both houses for any bill that raises taxes or otherwise "increases the statutory rate of any tax or the aggregate amount of revenue."
  • Require three-fifths vote from both houses to increase the debt limit;
    • Only a simple majority would be required during a time of declared war against a specific nation state. 
  • Become effective the fifth fiscal year after ratification.

According to The Hill, a “Senate GOP aide indicated that the balanced budget amendment had the backing of all 47 GOP Senators.”

Full text of this measure is linked here.

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Filed under Budget, Constitutional Amendment

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