Debates over $1 trillion deficits, the fiscal cliff, and the debt ceiling, leave many outside of Washington wondering how America will right its fiscal ship. One idea is to amend the Constitution.
U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., believes the problem is so large and so vital to the future of our nation that a Constitutional Amendment is warranted. He's cosponsoring a bill that would make a balanced budget a constitutional requirement.
"We've turned to panels, commissions, gangs and groups to tell us what we already know. We spend more than we're taking in and that's not right," said Enzi. "I have supported amending the Constitution to lock in fiscal sanity and a balanced budget ever since I came to Washington. There are over $16 trillion worth of excuses we have offered for not living within our means and that has to stop."
The Balanced Budget Amendment would restrict Congress from spending more than federal revenue in any fiscal year and would limit spending to 18 percent of the gross national product. Congress could only increase the debt, raise taxes or run a deficit if two-thirds of both the U.S. Senate and House vote for in favor. Any member of Congress may seek judicial enforcement of the amendment with a petition signed by one-third of either the Senate or the House. During times of war there will be allowances of specific excess as per defined processes. The amendment would become effective in the fifth year after ratification. This has been introduced previously to the Senate. In the last Congress, the bill received the support of more than 47 senators. Senator Enzi has been supporting balanced budget amendment proposals since 1997.