Boehner Blogs: Balanced Budget Amendment Sets Spending Restraints in Stone

Jul 13, 2011 10:31am

ABC News’ John R. Parkinson (@JRPabcDC) reports:

House Speaker John Boehner released a new video blog today on his website, expressing his support for the balanced budget amendment that the House of Representatives will consider next week, but Democrats are indicating their opposition to the bill they describe as "extreme and draconian."

“We need to get serious about changing the way we spend money here in Washington, and implementing long-term reforms, like the Balanced Budget Amendment, will make sure we never again face a debt crisis like we do today,” Boehner said. “I’m confident the Republicans will strongly support this legislation, in both the House and the Senate. The question is whether enough of our Democratic colleagues will join us to provide the two-thirds [majority] necessary to send the balanced budget amendment to the states.”

The Ohio Republican said that adoption of a balanced budget amendment would help ensure “that spending restraints are set in stone, and the certainty it provides will help create a better environment for job creation across the country.”

“The House bill that we’ll consider would require the government to spend only what it takes in, and would include limitations on our government’s ability to raise taxes and to increase spending,” he added. “I voted for a Balanced Budget Amendment in the past and I'll support it again now."

House Democrats, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Whip Steny Hoyer and their top-ranked member on the budget committee Rep. Chris Van Hollen, have expressed their opposition to the amendment.

"The balanced budget constitutional amendment…is a masquerade designed to foster the policy choices of the Republican budget: to end the Medicare guarantee for seniors and slash vital services while providing tax breaks for the wealthy," Van Hollen, D-Maryland, warned in a statement. "This balanced budget amendment would have dire consequences on the economy, on Medicare and other government guarantees to our citizens, and on Congress’s ability to respond to changing needs."

Pelosi agreed, telling reporters Tuesday that she is "very much opposed" to the balanced budget amendment.

"Of all the balanced budget amendment resolutions that I have seen, this is by far the worst," the California congresswoman said. "This is the Republicans’ way of putting forth the Ryan budget once again, which will eliminate Medicare. It requires high percentages to increase revenue and to increase investment in our future. It’s debilitating to our economy."

House Republicans are calling for the president to consider supporting the amendment as part of the deal to increase the statutory debt limit.

“Since our new majority took charge in the House, we’ve been committed to cutting job crushing spending, and changing the way Congress spends taxpayers’ dollars,” Boehner said. “I've been clear with the president that the House will not grant his request for an increase in the national debt limit without spending cuts larger than the debt limit hike and clear restraints on the future spending by our government.”

The amendment would require two-thirds majorities in both the House and Senate and the approval of three-fourths of the states. All 47 Senate Republicans have co-sponsored twin legislation in the Senate, although Senate Democrats are not rushing forward to support the amendment either.

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