Photo: AP Photo/Susan Walsh
The Blue Dog Coalition of moderate lawmakers endorsed a bill put forward by House Republicans to pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.The endorsement puts them at odds with President Barack Obama, whose administration said it opposed such an amendment.
“We do not need to amend the Constitution for only the 28th time in our nation’s history to do the job of restoring fiscal discipline,” the Office of Management and Budget said on Tuesday.
Speaker of the House John Boehner said he was “disappointed” in Obama for opposing the bill — which is certain to fail in the Senate — saying it is needed “to hold back the growth of government and give our economy a chance to grow and create jobs.”
The amendment would require a balanced budget, unless three-fifths in both chambers agreed to run a deficit. Raising the debt limit would require the same margin.
“Congress has demonstrated that regardless of which party is in charge, out-of-control spending is a hard habit for them to kick,” said Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR), the Blue Dog Co-Chair for Communications, in a statement. “It’s become clear that a constitutional amendment is the only way to force Congress’s hand toward fiscal responsibility.”
The Blue Dog Coalition is down to just 26 members, after nearly two dozen members lost their seats to Republican candidates in 2010.
The White House warns that unless there is broad support for raising taxes in both chambers of Congress — a rarity — the balanced budget amendment “would undercut the Federal Government’s ability to meet its core commitments to seniors, middle class families and the most vulnerable, while reducing our ability to invest in our future.”
“This could result in severe cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security that are growing due to the retirement of the baby boomers, putting at risk the retirement security of millions of Americans, and it could result in significant cuts to education, research and development, and other programs critical to growing our economy and winning the future.”
The House is scheduled to vote on the balanced budget amendment later this week.
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