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.