2:40pm

Tue November 8, 2011
All Politics are Local

Republicans Challenge Chandler to Support Amendment

Putting political pressure on U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Ky., the National Republican Congressional Committee is challenging the central Kentucky lawmaker to support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The new rule would require the federal budget be balanced and that the government cannot spend more than projected receipts and expenditures. The Republican-controlled House has pushed the measure as a way to limit spending and has scheduled a vote for November 14, but the language still hasn’t been finalized.

Over the summer, Chandler announced his “strong support” for a version of the measure as part of a coalition of conservative Democrats.

The GOP’s campaign arm is demanding the congressman vow to support whatever legislation comes out.

“Ben Chandler should provide more than lip service to his constituents on fiscal responsibility this week and let them know how he intends to vote on the balanced budget amendment next week,” NRCC Communications Director Paul Lindsay said in a news release. “Chandler should take action to right the Democrats’ wrongs after years of spending and borrowing that have left Kentucky families and future generations indebted to foreign countries like China.”

House Democrats have promised to oppose the bill and are urging its defeat despite previous support from some of their leaders in years past.

House Republicans need only 48 Democrats to come across the aisle in order get to the two-thirds threshold required for a constitutional amendment. The measure would also have to received a two-thirds vote in the Senate and ratification by three-fourths of state legislatures.

Previous attempts to insert the amendment’s language into the debt ceiling debate failed to get past the Democratic-controlled Senate and observers doubt this attempt will be more successful.

A Chandler spokeswoman was unavailable for comment.