The House Committee on the Judiciary completed marking up and passed H.J. Res. 1 on June 15 (see Memo, 6/10). The Committee passed the resolution on a party line vote of 20 to 12. The resolution will now be brought to the House floor for debate. Representative Robert Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced the resolution in January and it now has the support of 133 cosponsors.
H.J. Res. 1 would amend the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced federal budget. It would achieve this by capping government spending at 20% of gross domestic product (GDP) and requiring that spending be limited to the amount of revenue earned in the same fiscal year regardless of the economic climate. The resolution would also amend the Constitution to require a three-fifths vote in Congress to change spending and tax laws.
A balanced budget amendment would result in deeper cuts than the House-passed budget resolution cuts of $4.5 trillion over ten years. It would follow the model of the Republican Study Committee’s (RSC) budget proposal, which would cut $9 trillion dollars over the next decade (see Memo, 6/10).
The Senate voted in March in favor of an amendment that expressed the Senate’s support for a balanced budget amendment. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, said that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing on S.J. Res. 10, a resolution similar to H.J. Res. 1. The Senate resolution was introduced at the end of March by Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT).