Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Wednesday, December 14, 2011
1000 Days since US Senate Last Passed a Budget
By Heritage Foundation @ 12:11 PM :: 4729 Views :: National News, Ethics

The Truth About the Balanced Budget Amendment


In case you’re not keeping track, it has been nearly 1,000 days since the United States Senate passed a budget. Meanwhile, America’s fiscal nightmare keeps growing, and those on the left—including Members of the Senate—keep advocating for even more spending despite America’s $15 trillion national debt. That’s an important record to keep in mind as the Senate votes today on two versions of the Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA).

A BBA is constructive, but it’s not the final answer to America’s fiscal woes despite the tools it offers—in large part because it fails to tackle entitlement reform, the most detrimental driver of spending in this country. A BBA is not a neatly packed solution, as no constitutional amendment can replace the hard work of true spending reforms.

However, Republicans ensured earlier this year that the 2011 Budget Control Act required a vote on a BBA. Their commitment to ending big government’s reckless behavior was well-meaning but flawed, and a BBA has already failed in the House.

The proposed amendment being debated in the Senate was chosen from several previous versions and is sponsored by Senators Orrin Hatch (R–UT), Mike Lee (R–UT), and John Cornyn (R–TX), among others. It is stricter and it fundamentally differs from its counterpart in the House, but it still lacks in several areas.

Cornyn spoke at The Heritage Foundation last month about the BBA, saying that the American people are “justifiably very skeptical of Washington” right now. “I think we need to prove to them that we are serious about solving the problem, not that we are just going through the motions,” Cornyn said. “I think [a BBA] is called for under the circumstances we are in.”

The proposed amendment addresses many key issues requiring disciplinary action on the $15 trillion federal debt. These include a spending cap of 18 percent of GDP, a three-fifths vote to raise the debt ceiling, and a two-thirds votes to raise taxes—all helpful actions to getting America back on the right path. It also requires that the President submit a balanced budget to Congress every year.

While the details of this proposal are an improvement to some of the previous, weaker BBA proposals, it still doesn’t solve America’s spending problem.

The Heritage Foundation has supported and covered extensively our ideas for a balanced budget in the Saving the American Dream plan. A major component of that plan would be to undertake entitlement reform by amending existing federal laws that provide permanent or indefinite appropriations to federal agencies or programs. This BBA does not provide this kind of essential direction for long-term budget maintenance.

As Heritage’s David Addington has noted, an appropriate BBA should be intentionally focused on driving down spending, taxation, and borrowing. Such focus is especially important right now because of the massive federal debt and these yet-to-be reformed entitlement programs.

Even more importantly, a supermajority must be able to temporarily waive a BBA if it is crucial to national security, as such is the first constitutional priority of the federal government.

The Lee version of the BBA permits only a partial waiver when the U.S. is engaged in a congressionally authorized “military conflict”—and the particulars can get sticky. The flexibility for national security is essential if a BBA is to be amended to the Constitution.

An acceptable BBA should also provide its own enforcement and prevent government from borrowing money to meet the balance requirement. Any loopholes that contradict the BBA’s overall purpose will serve only to push America further from fiscal prosperity.

As Heritage’s Matt Spalding explained just before the failed House vote last month, Congress should be taking every opportunity it has to first and foremost cut and cap federal spending:

A part of the long-term agenda to rein in government is an appropriate and sound amendment to the Constitution that would keep federal spending under control in subsequent years. Indeed, the principal reason for adopting a balanced budget constitutional amendment is to limit the size and scope of the federal government by limiting its spending.

Despite its weaknesses, the BBA retains worthy components, making it harder to raise taxes by requiring a two-thirds super-majority of both houses.

As Hatch said in conference call with bloggers on Monday, the BBA “will finally put a straightjacket on Washington’s ability to continue profligate spending of the American people’s money.”

He said that the failure of the congressional super committee to reach an agreement to cut between $1.2 and $1.6 trillion from the federal debt over the next 10 years demonstrated a need for a BBA.

But it’s important to be cautious when approaching what some have deemed the answer to America’s fiscal disaster.

In his post, Spalding highlighted the complications in passing a BBA:

While considerable work has been done to develop a robust amendment, questions of amendment language (both in terms of operational construction and enforcement) have not yet sufficiently been resolved to meet the high and deliberative standard of the United States Constitution.

Like the House version, the Senate BBA is not expected to pass today, which will leave more quality time for consideration of what is best for renewing America’s course to fiscal repair.

Amending the Constitution requires that the American people have sufficient time to converse and comprehend the implications such a change would bring. The Senate should consider carefully today all the factors involved now and in the future for a BBA.






TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940


ACA Signups Hawaii



Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Conservative Alliance

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii



Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

Conservative Forum for Hawaii

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii


DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Friends of Lanai

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute


Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Senate Informer

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Hawaii Votes

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu TEA Party

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube


Hump Day Report

Hunting, Farming and Fishing Assoc.

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes


Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group


Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii



National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

OHA Lies

Ohana Policy Group



Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii



Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii


SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Copenull

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

TEA Party Maui

TFB Micronesia

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

United Veterans Hawaii

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu


West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

YAL UH Hilo