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Demint and Graham Push Balanced Budget Amendment, Earmarks Ban

South Carolina Republican Senators Jim Demint and Lindsey Graham called on colleagues Thursday to support a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution and commit to a one-year ban on all earmarks. A growing number of Senators have joined the call. Demint, who has refused to seek any earmarks, explained that such a bill will force Democrats and Republicans alike to be exposed as to whether or not they are serious about cutting wasteful spending. "Americans know earmarks are at the heart of the spending addiction in Congress, and they cannot understand why we don't have to balance the budget, just like they have to," he said.

These proposals come as the House passed a bill allowing Congress to raise the national debt ceiling by a staggering $1.9 trillion. The Senate passed the bill last week with every Republican voting in opposition.

Obviously a balanced budget amendment is a virtual impossibility as it would require two-thirds support in both chambers of Congress, but Demint makes a strong point that it is critical for Republicans to force the spenders to expose themselves in a public vote against such legislation. The earmarks ban can also be fertile ground for Republicans who can at least pledge that they alone will reject them.


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Comments (8)

This is all well and good b... (Below threshold)
Hank:

This is all well and good but the repubs need to privide details on how they'll achieve it.

Last time the dems successfully lied to the american public about what the repubs would do. They claimed that repubs would gut SS to balance the budget.

Social Security ''is the most successful social program in the history of the world,'' said Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle. ''For millions of older Americans it is the difference between living in dignity, and living in fear and poverty. A balanced-budget amendment shouldn't force us to break that historic contract.''


Clinton remarked that: "the amendment could have caused or worsened a recession, threatened the nation's credit standing, involved judges in national economic policy and jeopardized Social Security."

The obvious question is, "W... (Below threshold)
davidt:

The obvious question is, "Why ban earmarks for only one year?"

The answer is also obvious.

Grahamnesty removed his lip... (Below threshold)
OLDPUPPYMAX:

Grahamnesty removed his lips from McCains' backside long enough to do something "conservative?" I didn't think he was UP for re-election this year!

Once upon a time, I could s... (Below threshold)
James H:

Once upon a time, I could support a balanced-budget amendment. Now, not so much.

Any BBA would require an escape clause that allows America to take on debt in case of war or other emergency.

How would you define an emergency? Probably by a 2/3 vote of both houses of Congress.

I am afraid that the practical effect would be for Congress to try to declare an "emergency" every year ... and that the 2/3 majority would become the practical requirement for passing any budget.

Under those conditions, I think the government would end up more dysfinctional than it is now.

I hope Sen. Richard Shelby ... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

I hope Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) is listening. He's threatening to abuse the filibuster by blocking all of Obama nominations unless he gets his earmarks.

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/02/report-shelby-blocks-all-obama-nominations-in-the-senate-over-al-earmarks.php

James H,Point take... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

James H,

Point taken, but I'd still like to see the full text of the proposed amendment.

Certainly there should be an exception for declaration of war.

For other 'emergencies', I would require a 3/4 majority of both houses.

Then, there is the question of Social Security. For this to work, SS would have to be formally separated from the rest of the budget is such a way that no SS funds could EVER be co-mingled with other monies ever again. This would be a nice first step toward privatizing it in the long run.

Rehm: Tom Mann, what per... (Below threshold)
john:

Rehm: Tom Mann, what percent of the federal budget is actually set aside for earmarks?

Thomas Mann: About one percent. And what's important to keep in mind too Diane, is this is not 1 percent that if one eliminated all the earmarks would then lead to 1 percent reduction in spending because for the most part, this is not the authorization of new money, it's rather Congress's determination to allocate aspects of programs that have already been funded. So if you eliminate the earmarks, presumably those dollars will still be spent, but through other allocation mechanisms such as grant making activities.

Ban on earmarks? Nice talking point, but little more.

Forgot the link.<a... (Below threshold)
john:



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