"Senate GOP Demand Balanced Budget Amendment for Raising Debt Ceiling"
Boehner may be cowering heap of heavily tanned fail, but at least McConnell seems to be heading in the right direction of late. Human Events:
The Senate Republicans are preparing to tell President Obama that they want a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) to the Constitution passed in Congress in exchange for raising the statuary debt ceiling above $14.2 trillion.
“My hope is that we would force a vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment as a condition to voting on the debt ceiling,” Sen. John Cornyn (R.-Tex.) told HUMAN EVENTS. “By next week, or shortly thereafter, we will have all 47 Republicans unified behind the effort, and then begin to reach out to our Democratic colleagues.”
A BBA would force the federal government to balance the federal spending to incoming revenue each year and cap spending at 18% of the gross domestic product (GDP). For the current Fiscal Year (FY 2011), the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that government spending will be $1.4 trillion more than revenue and account for almost 25% of the GDP.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) is planning to roll out the details of the new version of the BBA in the next two weeks. McConnell’s plan is to to build public support and pressure on the Democrats to vote for it before the debt ceiling is hit, which is estimated to happen between mid-April and the end of May.
“We will have a genuine rollout so the American people can know what we’re doing and they can call, and e-mail, and fax, and demand their senators and congressmen support it and create a true grassroots effort,” said Cornyn of the leadership strategy.
So far, the Republicans have at least 33 members supporting the new BBA. Cornyn said that he and others are making calls this week to line up the others to support it. He expects to have all 47 Republicans in support by next week, and then will start outreach to the Senate Democrats.
“This is something that should have a bipartisan appeal, but we need to get unified behind it first before reaching out,” said Cornyn.
Why any of the GOPers aren’t yet on board is curious, but so long as McConnell can gather them in, that’s a start.
My sole concern is this: if the GOP can’t get 20 Democrat votes (assuming they get all 47 GOP senators on board), this won’t pass. Which means so long as the amendment is destined to fail anyway, a number of ersatz “fiscally conservative” Dems — many of them who are up for re-election — will be able to vote in favor of the amendment without worrying that their vote will actually help pass it, providing them local political cover, even as they protect the progressive agenda they’ve otherwise shown themselves quite willing to support.
And that could help them come 2012.