By Christina Gongaware, Contributing Writer
Rookie Republican Senator Pat Toomey introduced legislation today that would create a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution and that supporters say will “bring much-needed fiscal discipline back to Washington and dramatically cut the nation’s $14 trillion debt.”
The amendment is supported by all 47 Republican senators and is based off of two pieces of legislation already introduced: one from Republicans John Cornyn of Texas and Orrin Hatch of Utah the other from Republicans John Kyl of Arizona and Mike Lee of Utah.
“I think it speaks volumes about the fact that the Republicans are united under the idea that we’ve got to get spending under control,” Toomey said.
“Over the past two years, President Obama and Democrats in Congress have tried to convince the American people that we can borrow and spend our way to prosperity. The American people aren’t buying it, and they have made their desire for fiscal restraint loud and clear,” he continued.
The bill would not become active until five years after its ratification. The budget would not be permitted to spend more than its revenue, and spending would be capped at 18 percent of the GDP. In the case of a declared war, the amendment could be voided for a year with a majority vote from both houses of Congress. A three-fifths vote could also null the amendment for a year if the U.S. were in a military conflict, though the extra spending would be spent solely for that conflict. At any other time, a two-thirds vote would be necessary.
Toomey will face the onerous task of getting 20 Democratic Senators to support the bill, then onto gathering a two-thirds majority in Congress before the 38 states necessary would have to sign it into law.
“The balanced budget amendment is the first major step this Congress can take to impose a straitjacket on government spending, restore fiscal responsibility and enable our economy to thrive,” Toomey said.