4:14pm

Wed December 14, 2011
All Politics are Local

Senate Blocks Balanced Budget Amendment

The Senate rejected an attempt to amend the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced budget in an effort to reduce the deficit on Wednesday. The Balanced Budget Amendment has been heralded by Republican lawmakers such as U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., as a way to control federal spending and reduce the country’s $15 trillion debt, but it failed in a 53-to-47 vote along strict party lines.

Democrats criticized the legislation because it would require a two-thirds majority of both chambers of Congress to raise taxes, three-fifths to raise the nation’s debt and cap federal spending at 18 percent of the gross domestic product.

U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, R-In., says the failure to pass the proposal is “irresponsible,” but he will continued to lobby for fiscal responsibility.

From Sen. Coats’s office:

“Today, the Senate took another step backwards. It is completely irresponsible for Senate Democrats to block real efforts to balance our budget – especially when our country faces $15 trillion of debt and a global financial crisis. If we want to avoid situations similar to those seen in Greece and across Europe, then we need to get serious about restoring our fiscal books.

Hoosier families, American businesses and governors nationwide have to make tough decisions to balance their budgets every year. It’s time Washington is forced to do the same. I will continue to fight for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution to help rein in spending and bring more transparency, honesty and accountability to Washington.”

Amendments to the U.S. Constitution require a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate and three-fourths of state legislatures.