After careful consideration and input from the rank and file Members of the Republican Conference, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, along with Republican Members from across the country, announced that the House Republican Leadership has scheduled a vote next week on H.J.Res. 2, which Goodlatte introduced in the opening hours of the 112th Congress and is the same version which passed the House in 1995 with 300 bipartisan votes (228 Republicans and 72 Democrats).
House Republicans successfully worked to ensure that the Budget Control Act included a requirement that both the House and the Senate vote on a balanced budget Constitutional amendment by the end of the year. Immediately following the Budget Control Act being signed into law in August, House Republicans began holding Member meetings to determine which version of the balanced budget amendment the House would consider. Following a special Republican Conference meeting, which was held last week in order to ensure all Members of the Republican Conference had their voices heard on this important issue, a formal Member survey was conducted. An overwhelming number of Members of the Republican Conference preferred to bring H.J.Res 2 to the floor for a vote.
H.J.Res. 2 is Congress' best chance to actually pass a BBA. It has the strong support of a majority of the members of the House of Representatives, including 242 bipartisan cosponsors. The decision to bring up the historic version of the amendment came from the rank and file Members of the Republican Conference. It was a bottom up process during which the overwhelming majority of Members expressed a desire to vote on the version of the balanced budget amendment that has the best chance of passing.
Reps. Lamar Smith (TX-21), Joe Pitts (PA-16), John Culberson (TX-07), Trent Franks (AZ-02), Vern Buchanan (FL-13), Mike Coffman (CO-06), Cynthia Lummis (WY-At large), Tom McClintock (CA-04), Stevan Pearce (NM-02), Rick Crawford (AR-01), Morgan Griffith (VA-09), Todd Rokita (IN-04), Daniel Webster (FL-08) and Allen West (FL- 22) joined Rep. Goodlatte in calling on Members to support H.J.Res. 2 when it comes to the floor for a vote. They said, "It is time for each Member of Congress to decide whether to continue on the current path of unrestricted spending or put into the Constitution an institutional reform that prevents Congress from continuing to kick the can further into the future. We call on the Members from both sides of the aisle to do what's best for our nation and to vote for this common sense Constitutional amendment, which contains strong provisions to force Congress to live within its means regardless of which party is in control."
H.J.Res 2 is a commonsense measure that is long overdue. It requires that Congress not spend more than it receives in revenues unless a supermajority of 3/5 of both chambers vote to provide otherwise, requires a corresponding 3/5 vote to raise the debt ceiling, and requires the President to submit a balanced budget to Congress. It also provides for a limited exception in times of war and serious military conflicts. A Constitutional amendment will force Congress to eliminate unnecessary and wasteful spending and make the decisions necessary to balance the budget and eliminate the federal deficit.
Rep. Goodlatte stated, "The American people are demanding action. They are asking Congress to work together for the future of our country. Our constituents understand what it means to live within their means and they expect nothing less from the federal government. A balanced budget amendment to the Constitution is the only way to ensure that Congress curtails its spending on an annual basis and the only balanced budget amendment that has a chance of garnering the necessary 290 votes in the House to become part of our Constitution is H.J.Res 2."