Senate Democrats Unveil Balanced Budget Amendment
Policy + Politics

Senate Democrats Unveil Balanced Budget Amendment

The debt limit bill signed by President Barack Obama today requires a vote on a balanced budget amendment to to the Constitution in both chambers of Congress by year's end.

Moderate Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) is introducing a measure which would exempt Social Security from the amendment, and prohibit tax breaks on those earning over $250,000 a year unless the budget is already balanced.

“What I’m proposing is the most responsible, thoughtful, and workable balanced budget amendment,” Udall told The Washington Post.

The measure is an alternative to the one being pushed by conservative Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and other GOP lawmakers, which would cap all federal spending to 18 percent of GDP. It would provide moderate Democrats facing reelection battles the ability to vote for a less extreme balanced budget amendment, saving them from a politically compromising vote.

Neither measure is expected to become law — with two-thirds majorities in both houses required to send the amendment to the states, of which three-fourths must vote to ratify.