Blue Dog Coalition

Bold Leadership. Common Sense Solutions

Blue Dog Coalition Endorses Rep. Stephanie Murphy’s Balanced Budget Amendment

Jul 27, 2017
Press Release

Today, the fiscally-responsible Democratic Blue Dog Coalition announced that it has endorsed H.J. Res. 107, Balanced Budget Amendment, which was authored and introduced by Rep. Stephanie Murphy, co-chair for the Blue Dog Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility. Rep. Murphy was the first House Democrat to introduce a Balanced Budget Amendment during the 115th Congress.

Rep. Murphy’s Balanced Budget Amendment would amend the U.S. Constitution to prohibit the federal government from spending more than it receives in any given fiscal year, except in the cases of war or recession. The Amendment also generally prohibits a court from enforcing this requirement by ordering cuts to Social Security or Medicare payments. The Amendment requires the President to annually submit to Congress a budget in which total outlays do not exceed total receipts. It also prohibits federal total outlays for a fiscal year from exceeding total receipts for that fiscal year, unless Congress authorizes the excess by a vote of three-fifths of the members of each chamber.

“Unsustainable debt threatens our economic growth and national security,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Co-Chair for the Blue Dog Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility. “I introduced this Balanced Budget Amendment to spur a candid and bipartisan debate in Congress about the risks of piling deficit upon deficit and passing massive debt onto our children and grandchildren. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to rein in our deficits and debt so that we can build a sound economy for future generations."

The balanced budget requirement does not apply if a declaration of war is in effect or if the United States is engaged in military conflict. It also does not apply if, during the current or previous fiscal year, the U.S. economy grows by less than 0 percent in real GDP during two or more consecutive quarters, or if the unemployment rate exceeds 7 percent during two or more consecutive months.

Rep. Murphy’s resolution to amend the Constitution must pass Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and it becomes part of the Constitution as soon as it is ratified by three-fourths of the states (currently 38 of 50 States). The President does not have a constitutional role in the amendment process.

“We are already seeing economic repercussions due to our country’s unsustainable debt, and that’s why fiscal responsibility must be a top priority in Congress,” said Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Policy. “Republicans and Democrats need to come together now to make tough decisions, and supporting Rep. Murphy’s Balanced Budget Amendment is step in the right direction to putting our nation on a fiscally sustainable path. If we don’t address these problems, every single American will face serious economic repercussions.”

“This is commonsense solution gives us the mechanism we need to rein in our spending, while also giving our country flexibility in the case of emergency situations,” said Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Communications. “Our nation’s deficit spending has increased under both Democratic and Republican leadership in Washington, and it’s become clear that a Constitutional amendment is the only way to force Congress to face reality. We need fiscal responsibility to get us on the path to economic prosperity. Now is the time for both parties to address this problem on a united front for the sake of future generations.”

“Since our founding 22 years ago, the Blue Dogs have called on Congress to send a Balanced Budget Amendment to the states for consideration,” said Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Administration. “We are proud to have Blue Dogs like Representative Stephanie Murphy leading here, calling on Congress to face the fact that our nation’s deficit spending is out of control, our debt is unsustainable, and we must take serious action to do something about it. This isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue; it’s an American issue.”

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