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House rejects Balanced Budget Amendment, 261-165

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By Michelle Malkin  •  November 18, 2011 02:27 PM

No surprise here. BBA just got voted down in the House, falling short of two-thirds’ majority needed.

GOP Rep. Paul Ryan and three other Republicans voted no because the gesture BBA wasn’t tough enough : “I’m concerned that this version will lead to a much bigger government fueled by more taxes.”

A refresher course on the proposal’s flaws from Mario Loyola (h/t Whitney Pitcher):

Basically, all the House resolution would do is require a bare supermajority (three fifths) of Congress to override the prohibition on deficit spending. There is no limitation on taxation or total spending, so the amendment could be enforced by a catastrophic across-the-board tax increase. Instead of spending at 25 percent of GDP, taxing at 15 percent of GDP, and borrowing the rest (as the Obama budgets have done), we could find ourselves both taxing and spending at 25 percent of GDP. Without a strict limitation on taxation and spending, a balanced-budget amendment by itself could do more harm than good. As Sen. John Cornyn (R., Tex.) noted yesterday, “Let’s all remember that the disease in Washington is out-of-control spending, and budget deficits and the debt are really symptoms of that disease.”

…In today’s political climate, a balanced-budget amendment with strict spending limits may have dim prospects of getting the required two-thirds vote in each chamber of Congress and the required 38 states. But at some point, Americans are going to get really tired of high unemployment, anemic growth, and general malaise, and they’re going to stop believing the empty promises of those who say we need even more government to solve a problem that is clearly the fault of too much government. What made America great over two centuries was a combination of economic freedom, limited government, and self-reliance. We can only hope that those ideals will once again command the adherence of a great majority of us. At that point, ratification of a strong constitutional limit on taxing, spending, and borrowing will have a much greater chance of ratification than it does today.

Rebuilding that consensus will take time — all the more reason to start now.

It will also take more Tea Party-backed candidates winning office to make this rhetoric a reality.

Here’s the roll call vote.

More on the vote here.

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Categories: Politics