U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) today voted to support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution (H.J.RES.2). Even though the vote was bipartisan, it did not get the two-thirds votes required to pass (H.J.RES.2). Only 25 Democrats joined the vast majority of Republicans to support the measure.
"This amendment would have forced Washington to balance its checkbook, like most Americans do. It is common sense and is the sort of real reform needed to change the way government operates," said Thornberry, a long-time supporter of the measure.
Under the Budget Control Act of 2011, both Houses are required to vote on a balanced budget amendment by the end of this year. The House version would require that Congress does not spend more than is taken in unless three-fifths of both the House and Senate approve additional spending. Additionally, it makes provisions in the case of a serious national security emergency which might require a temporary spending increase.
The amendment that did not pass today is nearly identical to the version that won passage of the House in 1995 and later failed the Senate by one vote in 1997. Friday's vote was the most recent attempt to pass a constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget in nearly 15 years.
"While this bill is not perfect, it represented a giant leap toward getting our fiscal house in order and getting our nation headed back in the right direction. We cannot keep kicking the can down the road. The time to take significant and enforceable steps toward fiscal responsibility is now," Thornberry concluded.
Currently, the vast majority of states, including Texas, currently abide by some form of a balanced budget requirement. Polls also indicate that a strong majority of Americans continue to support a balanced budget amendment.