Scroll down to the end for the very latest updates…
In a move designed to get conservative Republicans on board with his debt ceiling proposal, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has designed a bill that would tie raising the debt ceiling to the approval of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Boehner plans to move forward with a vote on the plan as Democrats in the Senate are set to approve an alternative proposal by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada.
Freshman Republicans in the House balked at Boehner’s recent compromise proposal that would raise the debt ceiling in exchange for modest reductions in spending over the next 10 years. In order to get the votes needed to pass the bill, Boehner agreed to the Balanced Budget Amendment proposal that conservatives say is essential to reining in federal spending that is raging out of control.
Republican efforts to successfully address the 14.2 trillion-dollar-debt and the runaway federal spending that produced it have been hampered by the White House and Senate Democrats, who have insisted that cuts in spending be minimal and that taxes must be raised on all making over $250,000 per year–which would include small business owners.
Each proposal approved by the Republican-controlled House has been shot down in the Senate, where Democrats are in the majority. The obstructionism of Senate Democrats has been enhanced by threats of vetoes from Barack Obama should a bill reach his desk that favors Republican insistence that there be no new taxes and that spending be cut.
Senate Democrats have the votes to uphold a Presidential veto.
Further, Boehner has been informed by Reid that his bill would be dead-on-arrival when it reaches the Senate. It is presumed that the new bill, which includes the Balanced Budget Amendment proposal, would also be voted down by Senate Democrats. However, such a vote would put Democrats on the record as opposing a measure that enjoys broad support among the citizens, including a majority of Independents as well as Republicans. A CNN poll shows that 74% of Americans favor such an amendment.
Some politicians, including conservatives, have expressed reluctance to tamper with the Constitution. Yet many of these exhibit a reluctant willingness to approve the measure due to the present debt crisis that has placed future generations of Americans in great peril. A Balanced Budget Amendment would prevent further additions to the debt since the government would be restricted from spending more money than it takes in.
If the Amendment is passed in the House and Senate, it would then go to the States, according to the U.S. Constitution. Three-fourths of the States must approve the Amendment in order for it to pass.
Meanwhile, CNN reports in an interview with White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley that ‘Obama has a secret plan’ to address the debt ceiling. However, no one has seen the plan and questions abound as to why the President would keep it a secret given that he has relentlessly stirred up anxiety among the populace concerning default with dire predictions of the consquences should Congress fail to reach an agreement.
The only two bills that have been placed into circulation in the Congress are the Boehner and Reid bills. National Journal provides an overview of the two bills along with links to the actual proposals as submitted in Congress.
NEW UPDATE 6:25 PM EST: The U.S. House of Representatives passed a debt reduction bill late this evening on a party-line vote. Speaker John Boehner was able to secure the votes of enough conservative Republicans to pass the bill after adding a provision that would mandate a balanced budget. The provision states that Congress cannot raise the debt ceiling again (after the one needed now) without a Balanced Budget Amendment being approved by Congress and sent to the states for approval. The Amendment will prevent further debt by restricting the government from spending more money than it takes in.
But the newly approved House bill faces tough challenges in the Senate. More negotiations are needed to come up with a plan that will be approved by Senate Democrats who control the chamber. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has already refused to allow the GOP ‘Cut, Cap, and Balance’ bill to come to the floor for a vote. Reid further asserted that the bill the House passed today will not be approved, either.
House Republicans, however, are convinced they have the support of the voters who sent them to Washington to do something about the dangerously high level of debt that threatens U.S. financial stability.
Be sure to catch my blog at The Liberty Sphere.
Visit my ministry site at Martin Christian Ministries.
Subscribe by clicking the links at the top of the page, or below, and you will receive free notifications of new articles plus a free newsletter.