Tell Congress To Vote NO on the Balanced Budget Amendment

This week, probably today, the United States House of Representatives will vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority in both chambers for passage, which equates to two hundred ninety (290) votes in the House of Representatives and sixty-seven (67) votes in the US Senate.  The amendment would also need to be ratified by the states.  Call your elected officials in Washington and urge them to vote “NO” on the proposed balanced budget and here is why:

“The US House of Representatives will be voting on H.J. Res. 2, a proposal that does not include a global spending cap or a requirement for a super majority for raising taxes, like the prior proposal H.J. Res. 1. However, the proposal up for consideration does require a super majority vote in Congress to waive or raise the debt ceiling. Many economists warn that adding a balanced budget amendment to the constitution would “adversely affect” our national economy. Additionally, the balanced budget amendment could cause significant budget cuts across many federal programs that serve vulnerable children, youth, and families as well as create significant job losses.”[i]

In sum and substance, a balanced amendment removes the ability of the federal government to respond quickly to economic crises. Analysis from leading economists finds, “if a constitutional balanced budget requirement had been ratified in 2008 and took effect in fiscal year 2012, ‘ The effect on the economy would be catastrophic.’[ii]  If the 2012 budget were balanced through spending cuts, those cuts would have to total about $1.5 trillion in 2012 alone, which the report estimates would throw about 15 million more people out of work, double the unemployment rate from 9 percent to approximately 18 percent, and cause the economy to shrink by about 17 percent instead of growing by an expected 2 percent.”[iii]  The nation’s long-term fiscal challenges with the budget and taxes are such that our elected leaders need every tool available to generate balanced, equitable solutions.

Short Summary of the Balanced Budget Amendment (H.J. Res 2)[iv]

“H. J. Res. 2 would generally require that the U.S. government operate under a balanced budget each year and not run any deficits, unless each chamber of Congress agrees to a deficit by a three-fifths vote.

Increases in the statutory debt limit also would require a three-fifths vote of each chamber. Unlike some other constitutional amendment proposals, it does not cap total federal spending or require supermajority votes to raise taxes.

Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority vote of each chamber in order to be submitted to the states for ratification. It is expected the measure will be considered under suspension of the rules, which bars amendments and requires a two-thirds majority vote for passage.

Even if you have done so before, please call your representative NOW at 1-866-277-7617. Ask for your representative’s specific office.

Here is what your representative needs to hear from you:

Vote “NO” on the balanced budget amendment, H.J. Res. 2.

This proposal will hurt America’s children and families   by making massive budget cuts when the economy is at its weakest and unemployment is at its highest.

Making deep, shortsighted cuts now will short-circuit our children’s potential success in the future.  The cuts to programs and services for children, youth, and families, like education, health, college assistance, and income supports, would be both immediate and devastating and would fall hardest on low-income families and children.”

For more information on the devastating impact of adopting a balanced budget amendment, visit the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities website.

Sources: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities website. Voices For Americas Children Action Alert.

[i]   Voices For Americas Children

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid.

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

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