Congress is considering a constitutional amendment (H.J.Res.1) that would require the federal government to balance the budget. Specifically this legislation would (1) amend the Constitution to require that total spending for any fiscal year not exceed total receipts; (2) require bills that increase taxes to pass Congress by a 3/5 majority; and (3) annual spending could not exceed 1/5 of the economic output of the U.S. Some say the amendment is the only way to ensure that America has a stable financial future free from skyrocketing debt and interest payments. Others say the amendment would be destructive to America’s economy and could turn an economic downturn into a full-blown depression.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
“We are at a crossroads in America. As annual deficits and the resulting debt continue to grow due to political pressures and dependency on government programs, we can make the tough choices and control spending, paving the way for a return to surpluses or we can allow big spenders to lead us further down the road of chronic deficits. A balanced budget amendment to our Constitution will once and for all require Congress to rein in the out-of-control spending.”
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
“The immediate result of a balanced budget amendment would be devastating cuts in education, homeland security, public safety, health care and research, transportation and other vital services. Any cuts made to accommodate a mandated balanced budget would fall most heavily on domestic discretionary programs, but ultimately, there would be no way to achieve a balanced budget without cuts in Social Security and other entitlement programs as well. A balanced budget amendment would likely disproportionately affect unemployed and low-income Americans.”