published Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Senate GOP forcing vote on budget law

By Matt Laslo/Correspondent
  • photo
    Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., holds a news conference Wednesday in Washington, D.C., to call for a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Contributed Photo

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The region’s Republican senators have joined forces with the rest of the GOP conference in signing a proposed constitutional amendment that would require the federal budget to be balanced annually.

“The reason that we need a balanced budget amendment, or some type of constitutional amendment to limit spending, is that Congress will fall off the wagon,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., at a news conference Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

The GOP conference is now increasing pressure on their Democratic counterparts to schedule a vote on their plan to amend the U.S. Constitution.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he plans to use a procedural move to force the measure to come for a vote before the full Senate the week of July 18.

Amending the Constitution requires 67 votes in the Senate. House approval also would be needed, again by a two-thirds margin. Then the measure would have to go before all the states for a vote.

But the bill seems unlikely to get out of the Senate. All 47 Senate Republicans have signed onto the legislation. Not a single Democrat has done so.

While it’s a long shot, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said while working in state government, he saw firsthand that a balanced budget amendment constrains lawmakers.

“It gave legislators a reason to say, no they couldn’t do something when somebody came asking for more money,” said Isakson.

Democrats counter that the federal budget was balanced under the Clinton White House without a balanced budget amendment. They said they want to see the budget balanced but have different ideas on how to get there, such as moving from an annual to a biennial budget.

“We need to change the way the process works, that’s why I support biennial budgeting,” said U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. “It allows for more oversight by the Congress and that’s important.”

Without a balanced budget amendment, Republicans say Congress has no ability to stop excessive spending.

Corker pointed to how bogged down the Capitol has become with the debate over whether to raise the nation’s debt ceiling by Aug. 2.

“The oxygen is out of this building because everybody is focused on these debt ceiling talks,” Corker said. “Think about that: The only way that Congress ever acts today is if there’s a crisis or some wall they have to bump up against.”

Contact Matt Laslo at 202-510-4331 or Follow him on Twitter at Matt Laslo

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bpqd said...

PayGo. The right thing to do. We are glad to see the GOP agrees with President Clinton's policies.

An excellent local application would be the requirement to limit pay for city and county executives to an annual spending of no greater than the average income for the area. This way, Senator Corker's right hand man, who will soon be rubber stamped into County Chief of Staff, as part of a self-appointment crony scheme, will be limited to $55,000 in annual salary and benefits.

Of course, with the $328,000 website deal among Chattanooga's mayoral royalty class, we do not anticipate that their budget cuts will require a decrease in their own salaries.

They continue to have their own supporters, back home, pay themselves while depriving the poor and old and sick of essential survival services.

We are confident their self-paying hypocrisy will continue.

June 30, 2011 at 12:57 p.m.
rolando said...

That was a Republican Legislature during Clinton's presidency, bpqd. Clinton had nothing to do with with the balanced budger, nor did his policies.

The Dems don't want a budget, much less a balanced one. You really should read something besides

Here is what the CATO Institute [] had to say in Oct 1998 about the Clinton's "balanced budget":


And 1993 -- the year of the giant Clinton tax hike -- was not the turning point in the deficit wars, either. In fact, in 1995, two years after that tax hike, the budget baseline submitted by the president's own Office of Management and Budget and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted $200 billion deficits for as far as the eye could see. The figure shows the Clinton deficit baseline. What changed this bleak outlook?

Newt Gingrich and company -- for all their faults -- have received virtually no credit for balancing the budget. Yet today's surplus is, in part, a byproduct of the GOP's single-minded crusade to end 30 years of red ink. Arguably, Gingrich's finest hour as Speaker came in March 1995 when he rallied the entire Republican House caucus behind the idea of eliminating the deficit within seven years.

Skeptics said it could not be done in seven years. The GOP did it in four.

Now let us contrast this with the Clinton fiscal record. Recall that it was the Clinton White House that fought Republicans every inch of the way in balancing the budget in 1995. When Republicans proposed their own balanced-budget plan, the White House waged a shameless Mediscare campaign to torpedo the plan -- a campaign that the Washington Post slammed as "pure demagoguery." It was Bill Clinton who, during the big budget fight in 1995, had to submit not one, not two, but five budgets until he begrudgingly matched the GOP's balanced-budget plan. In fact, during the height of the budget wars in the summer of 1995, the Clinton administration admitted that "balancing the budget is not one of our top priorities."


And that is The Rest Of The Story regarding Clinton's so-called "balanced budget".

June 30, 2011 at 8:07 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

Those were great times, before the Republicans lost their way. Hopefully they can stay on track this time!

June 30, 2011 at 9:33 p.m.
bpqd said...

The GOP's "Rest of the Story" is called the Bush Administraiton's single handed creation of The Second Great Depression. This is just the first shock wave. We're aware the GOP spent us into massive deficits to subjugate their own countrymen and make money.

June 30, 2011 at 10:01 p.m.
rolando said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Which Bush, BTW? All the way back to pre-Clinton or post-Clinton? Barney/Dodd who? FannieMae/FreddieMac something or other?

June 30, 2011 at 10:21 p.m.
rolando said...

I doubt they will, BigRidge. They just don't have the cojones any more.

I am going to go with the same as last time -- If they are In, they are Out. Maybe the time after that they will take the hint.

June 30, 2011 at 10:31 p.m.
rolando said...

Gee, bpqd, you dropped your claim about Clinton balancing the budget like a hot potato...LOL. Facts tend to do that to you...

June 30, 2011 at 10:35 p.m.
hambone said...

It takes 2/3 of the house and 2/3 of the senate to pass a balanced budget. Then it has to ratified by 3/4 of the states.

At a time when congress can't even agree on what day it is this is no more than showboating and grandstanding by the GOP.

An other "look at the shinny object"

July 1, 2011 at 11:24 a.m.
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