The House today failed to pass a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring a balanced federal budget every year.
"Non-partisan economists estimate 15 million more people would be out of work and our unemployment rate would be 18 percent if this Constitutional amendment were the law of the land," said Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono (HI-2). "Our kupuna's Social Security and Medicare as well as veterans' benefits would face deep cuts. Long-term road and bridge improvements would also be at risk. And getting relief quickly to victims of natural disasters would be very hard.
"This is more than tightening our belt, this is a vice grip -- and Hawaii's seniors, veterans and families would be trapped in it. This isn't what people in Hawaii want. They want real compromise that creates jobs and meets our shared challenges in a responsible, balanced way."
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has warned that under this balanced budget amendment Social Security would face deep cuts of $184 billion in 2018 alone, Medicare would see deep cuts of $750 billion through 2021 and veterans' benefits among other programs would also be severely cut.
AARP, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Medicare Rights Center, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and hundreds of other organizations have voiced their opposition to this amendment.
Two-thirds of the House and Senate must approve a Constitutional amendment. The amendment is then sent to the states for ratification. Thirty-eight of the fifty states--or three-fourths--must ratify the amendment for the change to the Constitution to take effect.