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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Republicans From Both Sides of Congress Planning to Introduce Balanced-Budget Amendments Soon

There has been a big push in the country looking for government to get their fiscal house in order. This push is being lead by the TEA Party, which had a huge impact in last year’s election and doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. The Republicans are seeking to take advantage of this and is looking to make spending cuts and balance the budget. In response, Senators Hatch (R-UT) and Cornyn (R-TX) have announced their intent to introduce a balanced-budget amendment that would force the federal government to make the changes necessary to stop borrowing money, start acting like adults, and keep their promise to the American people to curb the deficit spending:

Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) penned a letter to their Senate colleagues Tuesday pitching a constitutional balanced-budget amendment.

"The American people are demanding action from Washington to get our fiscal house in order once and for all," part of the letter read. "They don't want any more empty rhetoric or excuses."

Six Senate Republicans have already signed on as co-sponsors of the legislation — Sens. Saxby Chabliss (Ga.), Jim DeMint (S.C.), Olympia Snowe (Maine), John Ensign (Nev.), Michael Enzi (Wy.) and David Vitter (La.) — with more expected.

Along with Hatch, Snowe and Ensign are up for reelection in 2012. Hatch and Snowe are rumored Tea Party targets and Ensign could also face a Republican primary if he opts to seek another term.

Hatch and Cornyn are looking to roll out the balanced budget amendment effort the week the Senate returns.

Republicans in the House, meanwhile, are hopeful there is renewed momentum for a balanced-budget amendment introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).

One of the measure's co-sponsors in the House is Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), a rumored primary challenger to Hatch in 2012.

The House Republicans are preparing to introduce their own balanced budget amendment, too:

Some House Republicans are expressing renewed confidence that the push for a balanced-budget constitutional amendment will gain real steam in the 112th Congress — aided by the newly elected crop of budget-slashing GOP freshmen.

"We're very optimistic that we'll be able to get a vote on this at some point," said Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who has introduced two separate balanced-budget amendment measures...

"Right now I'm just in the process of signing up as many co-sponsors as I can," said Goodlatte, who noted that he hasn't yet spoken to the Republican leadership about moving the measure to the floor. "There's such great support for this both outside and within the Congress, that I anticipate we can move it."

Goodlatte has already signed on 137 co-sponsors, including one House Democrat — Rep. Jim Matheson (Utah) — and he said both Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) have supported his push for a balanced-budget amendment in the past.

Ready to aid Goodlatte's effort is the new class of Republican freshmen, many of whom have Tea Party activists looking over their shoulder ahead of 2012 as they cast their first votes and set priorities for the new Congress.

"You have a host of new Republican freshmen who were sent here with a mandate for a balanced budget," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), one of the co-sponsors of Goodlatte's bill.

"When I was sent here, it was with a mandate for a balanced budget. So I think it's time we act on that."

This should be a no-brainer for the House. The Senate may be a bit trickier, but I highly doubt that it would fail there, either, especially since most of the Democrats that are up in 2012 are from historically red states. I don’t see the vulnerable Democrats risking their political futures voting against something that has such huge support from their constituents. Yeah, I know. Many of them did vote for ObamaCare, despite hearing from people in their town hall that they didn’t want it, but after the tsunami last election, I think (or hope) that they have learned their lesson. Obama should sign it, too, now that he is trying to triangulate into a repeat of what Bill Clinton did in the 90s.

This should be a rare kumbiya moment for DC, when they all come together in spirit of bipartisanship to vote for something that will actually benefit the country. However, that will all come to a quick end, when the debate starts on HOW they will balance the budget.

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