Fortunately a Balanced Budget Amendment Failed to Pass in the House
by Shirley Spellerberg on November 19, 2011 at 9:38 AM
Louie Gohmert (TX), Paul Ryan (WI) and two other Wise Republicans Voted NO!
I have long been one of only a few Republican conservative activists openly opposing the politically popular call for a Balanced Budget Amendment. While I certainly am an advocate for balanced budgets, to mandate a constitutional amendment that would require every federal budget to balance expenditures with incoming revenue, without a drastic curb on spending, would lead to only one thing—Bigger Government and Higher Taxes! Where would the revenue to balance the current multi-trillion-dollar budget deficit come from? Obviously from the taxpayers who are struggling to make ends meet in this Democrat economy. The BBA vote fell 29 votes short of the two-thirds vote required for passage. Had it passed the House, it hopefully would have failed to pass the Senate.
Following are excerpts from the explanation of both Paul Ryan and Louie Gohmert as to why this Republican leadership-backed BBA was not the way to go:
“I’m concerned that this version will lead to a much bigger government fueled by more taxes,” Ryan said. “Spending is the problem, yet this version of the BBA makes it more likely taxes will be raised, government will grow, and economic freedom will be diminished. Without a limit on government spending, I cannot support this amendment,” he said.
Rep. Gohmert also criticized the proposed amendment for not imposing a limit on federal spending. "It's clear that if we pass a balanced budget amendment, without at least having a spending cap, then future Congresses will use its requirements to increase taxes in order to balance the budget," said Gohmert.
"It's troubling that our party felt compelled to strip down the amendment to attract Democratic votes, while acknowledging at the same time that it would not pass in the House and Senate," said Gohmert. "If this amendment is not going to pass, we need to do what we know is best and right and prepare the way to pass it after the next election."
(Note: I hope the BBA idea will be dropped for now and in the future. The original Constitution should not be messed with for any reason however well-intended. Why not try enforcing it?)
Many conservatives have been critical of the version of the balanced budget amendment that the House Republican leadership decided to bring up for a vote because it does not cap spending as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product or require supermajorities in both houses of Congress to pass a tax increase.
Ryan's argument against the balanced budget amendment was similar to the argument made by Ed Meese, who served as attorney general under President Ronald Reagan. Meese told CNSNews.com recently that a balanced budget amendment without a cap on spending or a supermajority requirement for tax increases would lead to bigger government and higher taxes.
“It would be used by those who seek to have an expanded government and increased taxes to make it mandatory to increase taxes,” said Meese. “It would make it much easier to raise taxes, and that’s why the important thing is to have a protection, for example, that it would take two-thirds of both houses in order to increase taxes … and, likewise, that there be some sort of a cap on expenditures, perhaps in relation to Gross Domestic Product.”
Now that the BBA is dead in this congress, I sincerely hope that Senator John Cornyn and Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz, who among others have been calling for a Constitutional Convention to get a BBA passed, will back off from this Constitution-shattering idea. The Republican congress should just get about the business at hand of cutting spending, reducing taxes and government regulation on businesses, and securing our border (which would reduce the cost to the taxpayers for illegal immigrants) without trying again to pass a Comprehensive Immigration Reform plan that is Amnesty by another name.
The politicians should forget trying to win votes from an electorate who is fed up and frustrated with the whole bunch and are looking for a ‘quick fix’ that will not work. Undoubtedly there are candidates running as ‘conservatives’ who will say anything they think you want to hear to get your vote. Beware!
Republican Representatives Ryan, Gohmert, Amash and David Dreier are to be commended for their courage in going against John Boehner and other Party leaders by voting NO on the BBA.