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Politico - Balanced Budget Amendment to be Pushed by GOP

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By Jake Sherman

House Republicans are deciding Friday how to move forward with a balanced budget amendment, long an elusive dream of the right.

There are two options, which the House Republican Conference is mulling Friday morning in a closed meeting. One balanced budget amendment would cap federal spending at 20 percent of gross domestic product, while requiring a two-thirds supermajority for raising taxes. The other is a so-called "clean" balance budget measure, without any super majority limitations for tax increases.

The summer budget agreement mandated the House and Senate vote on the legislation, but there is a divide in GOP hierarchy over which to put on the floor.

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), a popular figure in conservative circles, favors the more ambitious legislation that caps spending and makes it very difficult to raise taxes.

"We've been involved in good faith negotiations and discussions with Democrat colleagues and I'm just convinced this is the right policy moving forward," Pence told POLITICO.

Of course, the subtext is that House Democrats have signaled that they wouldn't help Republicans get to 290 -- the number of votes needed to meet the threshold to amend the Constitution.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who has led the charge for an amendment since 1995, favors the traditional balanced budget amendment.


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