MISS. SENATORS COSPONSOR BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT

Senate Republicans Back Constitutional Amendment to Improve Nation’s Economic Outlook

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss) today announced their support for a renewed effort to pass a constitutional amendment that would require the President and Congress to enact balanced budgets.

The Mississippi Senators are original cosponsors of a constitutional balanced budget amendment measure that would force the Administration to submit a balanced budget to Congress, cap federal spending, and establish a two-thirds majority threshold in both the House and Senate for increasing taxes. The resolution (S.J.Res.7) was introduced by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) and is cosponsored by all Republican members of the Senate.

“The national debt and deficit spending are genuine threats to our nation, not just now but well into the future. A balanced budget amendment would force the President and Congress to make responsible decisions that will keep us from surrendering the security and quality of life of all Americans to insurmountable debt,” Cochran said.

“Families around the country are forced to balance their budgets, and the federal government must do the same,” said Wicker. “Achieving a balanced budget requires making some difficult decisions. This balanced budget amendment is a serious and important step in the right direction.”

The proposed balanced budget amendment (BBA) would:
• Direct the President to submit a balanced budget to Congress annually
• Require Congress to pass a balanced budget
• Prohibit federal spending from exceeding 18 percent of the gross domestic product without approval of two-thirds of the House and Senate
• Require two-thirds majority votes in the House and Senate to raise taxes
• Require a new three-fifths majority vote in both houses of Congress to raise the debt limit

The amendment outlines exceptions that would occur during military conflicts. The amendment would become effective in the fifth fiscal year after ratification by the states.

Cochran and Wicker cosponsored similar legislation (S.Res.10) in the 112th Congress, and voted for its passage in December 2011. That effort failed on a 47-53 party-line vote.

The national debt was $1.1 trillion when the Senate passed a balanced budget amendment in 1982. When the Senate failed in 1986 to pass a BBA by one vote, the national debt had risen to $2.1 trillion. By 1997, the national debt was over $5.0 trillion when another BBA again missed being passed by one vote. With the introduction of today’s balanced budget measure, the national debt stands at more than $16 trillion.

Sens Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker
2/13/13