Senate Rejects Balanced Budget Amendment

The Senate on July 22 rejected by a 51-46 vote a balanced budget amendment (HR 2560) that would place a cap on future spending in order to raise the nation’s debt limit. The measure had no chance of passing in the Senate as the Democratic majority unanimously rejected the proposal on the ground that it would slash Medicare spending to unacceptable levels.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. said before the vote that the debate would allow voters to know where Congress stands on the debt crisis, and he warned Democrats that a rejection would prolong the impasse. “A vote to table this bill is a vote to ignore this crisis even longer,” said McConnell.

Democrats, however, were vehemently opposed to the measure and President Obama had promised to veto the bill if it ever made it to his desk. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had originally planned to hold a vote over the weekend but canceled the weekend session, saying the Senate did not need to waste its time.

“I think this piece of legislation is about as weak and senseless as anything that has ever come on this Senate floor, and I am not going to waste the Senate’s time day after day on this piece of legislation which I think is an anathema to what our country is all about,” said Reid.

The balanced-budget component of the Cut, Cap, and Balance Bill of 2011 included a supermajority requirement to raise taxes and placed a limit on spending as a percentage of gross domestic product. The House approved the measure on July 19 (TAXDAY, 2011/07/20, C.2) by a vote of 234-190.

By Jeff Carlson, CCH News Staff

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