Blue Dogs Endorse Rep. McAdams’ Balanced Budget Amendment
WASHINGTON— Today, the fiscally-responsible Blue Dog Coalition announced that it has endorsed a Balanced Budget Amendment, which was authored by Rep. Ben McAdams (UT-04), co-chair for the Blue Dog Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility and Government Reform. Rep. McAdams is the first House Democrat to introduce a Balanced Budget Amendment during the 116th Congress.
Today, the national debt is over $22 trillion, an unprecedented level; and never in modern history has the U.S. annual budget deficit been so high outside of war or economic recession. February this year was marked to be largest monthly budget deficit on record—higher than at any point during the 2008 global financial crisis, when the economy was in peril and the Tea Party took to the streets.
Rep. McAdams’ 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 also requires the President to annually submit to Congress a budget in which total outlays do not exceed total receipts.
“At a time when we face $1 trillion annual deficits, and both parties punt on even trying to pass a budget blueprint, we need to consider a new structure to force fiscal discipline,” said Rep. Ben McAdams (UT-04), Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility and Government Reform. “With this bill, I’m saying let’s stop ignoring the issue and start talking about how to address it.”
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. McAdams’ 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.
“It’s clearer than ever that the only way Congress will be able to produce a balanced budget is if it is required to do so by law,” said Rep. Lou Correa (CA-46), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Communications. “Washington needs to have a serious, bipartisan discussion about our nation’s fiscal state. Republicans and Democrats need to come together now to make tough decisions, and Rep. McAdams’ 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.”