Constitutional amendment mandating a balanced budget

The federal government has consistently run deficits—with the exception of a few years in the late 1990s.Some say that the only way to solve the budget problem we face is to amend the United States Constitution to require the government to balance its budget.Because few elected officials would be willing to face constituents with a budget that violates the Constitution, opposing parties would be forced to compromise and pass legislation that would meet the constitutional requirement.Opponents argue that the political pressure could lead to budget gimmicks that would meet the letter, but not the spirit, of the law.

That the Constitution has been amended just 27 times demonstrates that the process is reserved for only the most important circumstances.

The BBA is a powerful proposal that attracts great vitriol from the American Left, which recognizes it as an enormous threat to its big-government ways—perhaps the greatest threat.

For that reason, the history of Congress’s work on a BBA is full of frustrations, high-profile defections, reversals, and betrayals. It also describes some of the milquetoast versions and amendments that have been offered to gut the BBA while providing political cover for those who are unwilling to support a robust version.

Joe Lieberman, an independent - recognized this urgent need and expressed support for a balanced-budget requirement.

I have put forward a proposal that would require a balanced budget every fiscal year; limit federal spending to 18 percent of gross domestic product; and require a two-thirds vote in Congress to increase taxes, raise the debt limit or run a specific deficit.


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