If the Republicans Won’t Do It, Maybe Democrats Will
By Stuart MacPhail May 2019
Utah’s sole Democrat Congressman, Rep. Ben McAdams, has introduced HJ Res 55, a bill proposing a constitutional amendment requiring the federal government to balance its budget. In early April the so-called Blue Dog Coalition of moderate Democrats endorsed McAdams bill.
The proposed amendment has some shortcomings, but it would prohibit the federal government from spending more than it receives in any given fiscal year, except in the cases of war or recession. The proposed amendment also generally prohibits a court from enforcing this requirement by ordering cuts to Social Security or Medicare payments. The proposed amendment also requires the President to annually submit to Congress a budget in which total outlays do not exceed total receipts.
When he introduced the bill McAdams said “With this bill, I’m saying let’s stop ignoring the issue and start talking about how to address it.” In addition to McAdams, the legislation is cosponsored by 10 members of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of 27 self-described fiscally-responsible Democrats dedicated to the financial stability and national security of the country. As “both parties punt on even trying to pass a budget blueprint, we need to consider a new structure to force fiscal discipline,” McAdams said.
“It’s clearer than ever that the only way Congress will be able to produce a balanced budget is if it is required to do so by law,” said California Democrat Rep. Lou Correa. He also said “Washington needs to have a serious, bipartisan discussion about our nation’s fiscal state. Republicans and Democrats need to come together now to make tough decisions, and Rep. McAdams’ Balanced Budget Amendment is a step in the right direction to putting our nation on a fiscally sustainable path. If we don’t address these problems, every single American will face serious economic repercussions.”
“Our national debt is skyrocketing, shackling our children and grandchildren with the burden of dealing with this unsustainable situation,” says Florida Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, co-chair of the Democratic Blue Dog Coalition. “A balanced budget amendment would force Congress’ hand to pass a balanced budget each and every year, and be a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars.”
Commenting on the McAdams bill, and similar congressional proposals, The Salt Lake Tribune editorialized “They call them balanced-budget bills, but they’re more like cries for help.” Read that editorial HERE.