The balanced budget amendment push is beginning again. The favorite idea of deficit hawks, Tea Partiers and even some Democrats is being brought to Congress once more in a continuation of last summer's debt crisis debate.
The House Republican leaders have scheduled a vote on the bill for next week. Some conservative and Tea Party Republicans though, will not be happy. This bill is more similar to the measure passed in the '90s with help from Democrats than the hardline version of the amendment the right wing wanted.
The main components the conservatives believe are missing are measures controlling spending or requiring a super-majority of Congress to raise taxes, the Los Angeles Times reported. The Times reported that conservative groups including Grover Norquist's Americans For Tax Reform and the Club for Growth sent a letter to congress demanding a stronger version of the amendment be persued.
A 'clean' BBA provides the excuse big spenders seek to raise taxes and grow government. Any lawmaker committed to restoring American solvency cannot seriously vote for a BBA that does not include a super-majority requirement for tax increases, the letter said, according to the LA Times.
No matter which amendment is persued, it will certainly be a long road towards possible adoption. It must be approved by 2/3 of both houses of Congress and then by 3/4 of all states.
Republican Rep. Ben Goodlatte of Virginia said that pragmatism was important in choosing how to go about working toward the balanced budget amendment.
The question becomes do you vote on one that becomes symbolic or political or one that actually has some chance of passing? he said, according to the LA Times.
The process is likely to be further muddied by the Democrat controlled Senate, which will likely add provisions protecting social security and outlawing tax breaks for high income earners, The New York Times reported.
One Senate Republican, Florida's Marco Rubio, said the proposed Senate bill would not be useful.
If we're going to amend the Constitution, Rubio said, according to The New York Times. It must be something that actually leads to the balancing of the budget. There may not be support in Congress for a real balanced budget amendment.
There is currently no vote scheduled in the Senate on the amendment.